Apologies for being a bit behind on bringing you the latest news: First stories started breaking late on Friday night, in contravention of the usual news cycle (let alone my sleep cycle), and then I was out of commission a good bit of this morning recovering from last night’s trip to Saturn. Anyway, without further ado:
On the aforementioned Friday night, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell threw a sizable roadblock in the path of the proposed Virginia Beach arena, declaring that he would not include $150 million in requested state money in his new budget. Since Virginia Beach is already facing a steep enough climb coming up with its own $195 million for the project, that pretty much sinks the plan, for this fiscal year, anyway.
Not, though, probably forever. Here’s what state Virginia Economic Development Partnership president Martin Riley actually said in his statement on Friday announcing McDonnell’s denial of funds:
“Should the city have a detailed financing plan, or alternative plans, that provide more clarity on what the revenue sources are for building the arena and how they will be applied to retire the city’s debt obligation, this would certainly be helpful for the administration to receive,” Riley wrote.
To which McDonnell spokesperson Tucker Martin added:
“Virginia Beach officials were informed this afternoon that the governor’s budget amendments will not provide resources for this project at this time, as the VEDP analysis is ongoing.”
So basically this is less a “no” than a “Seriously, guys, you want us to hand over $150 million for a funding plan that’s put together out of Tinkertoys and chewing gum?” There’s nothing stopping Virginia Beach from coming back to the state in future years, and subsequent reports have even indicated that McDonnell could reconsider his decision during the legislative session that begins in January, if the city has its funding ducks in a row by then. All of which means it’s not all that likely that the Sacramento Kings would have time to put an arena deal in place in time to meet the March 1 NBA franchise relocation deadline, but really, that wasn’t very likely in the first place — even if you think that the Maloof brothers, unlike everybody else on the planet, take Virginia seriously as a relocation site, that would have been an awfully quick turnaround for an arena plan.
So, unless the Maloofs have an abrupt change of heart and decide they’re willing to sell their team to Seattle’s Chris Hansen, I’d lay at least even odds that the Maloofs decide to wait out 2013 and see what they can shake loose from Virginia Beach with a bit more time. Even if they don’t really want to move there, after all, it’s always good to get some extra bids to drive up your price.