Lots going on this weekend in the are-the-Sacramento-Kings-moving-to-Seattle-or-aren’t-they controversy, at both ends of the West Coast:
- A King County judge has thrown out one of the two lawsuits against the proposed Seattle arena deal. This was the lawsuit by port workers charging that the environmental review was improperly done; the International Longshore and Warehouse Union said it will continue to oppose to project, but it doesn’t sound like they’re going to appeal the ruling. This leaves only one legal challenge in place, the one claiming that the deal violates the voter-backed initiative that requires the city to get a net positive return on its investment, which is also widely considered a longshot.
- Sacramento city officials have confirmed that the local investors who are considering whether to enter a bid to buy the Kings want bigger arena subsidies than the city offered last year, even while Mayor Kevin Johnson insists that the city’s price tag will go down.
- Sacramento city manager John Shirey is asking the city council to vote tomorrow on opening arena financing negotiations on Wednesday, though who exactly they’d be negotiating with is still a secret.
- One Sacramento city councilmember has sent an open letter to Shirey and the news media listing the reasons why he thinks this Kings arena deal would be a lousy one, and is giving interviews on the topic as well.
In short: Not much we didn’t already know or expect, and nothing that’s likely to sway David Stern’s mind one way or another. If the NBA had to decide today whether to move the Kings to Seattle, I expect they’d take the bird in the hand and okay it; but given that they have another seven weeks to make a ruling, expect lots more of these kinds of headlines for the foreseeable future.