Ugh. Seattle Suns has a nice ring to it, though OG Seattle basketball fans who were around for Reign Man and Glove might take umbrage.
We're joking, of course, because ripping a pro basketball team away from its home city will always be a travesty for the fans, especially when it happens because that city refuses to foot the bill for $150 million in renovations. Seattle understands this better than most. Yet, Suns owner Robert Sarver is making waves ahead of a city council vote that that's been postponed, reports the Arizona Republic, because they're not sure they have the votes necessary to make it happen.
Because of how unsure everyone is now about the vote, the report says Sarver has been telling city council members he'll move the team to Seattle or Las Vegas if they don't vote yes. It seems the details of the deal, once made public, gave city council members pause, seeing as how they'd be justifiably queasy voting yes on a rushed deal that hasn't been properly vetted.
The council votes were reportedly locked up last week but they began softening once the city released details of the deal late Thursday and the public started weighing in.
The last straw came Tuesday night, when Council Michael Nowakowski began wavering – and reportedly wasn't answering his phone for the old arm twist.
Williams is asking the council to postpone the vote until next month – allowing time for two public hearings – rather than suffering a potentially lopsided defeat today that could kill future prospects for a deal.
Any four council members can kill the arena deal and as of Monday, there already are three no votes: Councilmen Sal DiCiccio and Jim Waring and Councilwoman Vania Guevara.
Nowakowski seems to be the fulcrum that could swing the vote, and his hazy statement on the deal could be interpreted any number of ways. "I want to make sure the community understands the economic impact of the arena, the responsibility the city has to the arena owner, what renovations are needed to continue operating the arena and the source of the funds that would be used for renovations," he said as part of his statement.
As laid out by the Republic, the deal itself was only announced about a week ago, a rushed job if there ever was one. And as most would guess, expedited deals of this magnitude are usually covered so no one looks too closely at the specifics. Well, now people are looking and no one is even sure what the $150 million would be spent on, or if the arena needs an upgrade. Not a lick of research has gone into the plan, or what economic benefits would result from this type of city-wide investment; there's been due diligence, so no one is even sure where the 150 stacks will be allocated. It's like a blank check for an owner to do what he pleases.
Sarver's an owner, mind you, worth only about $400 million as of a 2016. While that might be a princely sum for most of us, for NBA owners, it's one false step from liquidation and bankruptcy. And it's not like Sarver brings any sort of astute insight to the fold, either. He blamed millennial culture a couple of years ago for the crap product he's put on the floor. We hope Phoenix gets to keep their basketball team, but that might only happen if they're sold to someone who knows what they're doing.