I don't want to spin anything, just look at it as rationally as possible. I don't know why they want to vote on relocation first, so it's hard to make a judgment on it.
The thing you need to remember most is this: Are these guys really going to make a financial decision this bad just to appease Stern or out of sentiment?
I still really doubt it.
The Sacramento group has no intention to match the Seattle offer. Franchise valuations fall back to earth.
While Sacramento is a top 20 market in terms of TV households, it also has no potential for an RSN, and tends to fall out of the top 50 metropolitan areas when you look at important variables like spending power. There is very little money to be made in that market, it's also a fairly irrelevant market when it comes to negotiating the next national television deal.
The Sacramento arena plan is still terrible. It's not unrealistic that if the Sac group somehow got a hold of this franchise that the arena deal completely falls apart. There is essentially zero chance a building in Sacramento could be done before one in Seattle, or even within a year. The process moves slower in California even than it does here. The other important factor is that Sacramento is barely getting by as a city. They have overextended themselves in terms of debt and now our attempting to work around the fact that their credit rating is awful by setting up a separate non-profit that can take on more debt on their behalf, except all of this money is really coming out of the city's general fund, which will likely take a nasty hit, and when the high interest bond payments aren't even made up by new arena revenue, that's going to come from the city as well. They want to go all in on a sports arena revitalizing their local economy, except it's make or break move with a huge emphasis on the break. It could wind up being a total disaster. It's really hard to say, since their arena plan has no actual details or hard numbers, just rosy projections that have been pulled out of thin air that don't seem to have any basis in reality. It's a disaster of a plan that could be derailed very easily.
The Sacramento ownership group is cobbled together, does not have the spending power that the Seattle group has, and is constantly in flux. We're talking about guys who openly came out and said they'd want to go for a "moneyball" type approach to building a basketball team, so in other words, more crap product, more revenue sharing going towards this team. The Seattle group will likely be a contributor into the revenue sharing pot and also has the potential to be a team that ends up paying money into the league via the luxury tax. Not a chance in Sacramento.
The two things Sacramento's hopes are relying on: sentimentality (well we know that doesn't matter) and Stern's ability to pull the owners' strings as a lame duck. The latter might be a threat, I've detailed in other posts why I think he could very well not be, as well. If Sacramento does keep the team, it will be both hard and funny seeing that fanbase delude itself into thinking that they fought hard and won, when it really was all Stern backroom politicking.
We have Sacramento beat in every facet of this. They did what they could, but it's not enough to beat Seattle in any area where it counts. They just aren't capable. They need the game to be rigged in their favor, because they can't win it otherwise. I don't put nefarious dealings past the NBA, obviously, so it's all possible. It'd just be a bonehead move.
I've often seen Sacramento fans claiming, similarly to Seattle fans, that if they don't come out of this with a team, they will be done with the NBA. Seattle fans say this because spurning a fanbase twice will alienate them from the league for a generation. Sacramento fans say this, openly, because they know that once the NBA is gone, they will be just like any other professional sports league, in that they will have no interest in Sacramento beyond letting the TV households trickle towards other markets' teams. "We're such a great market, you should stay. We're such a bad market, once you leave, you'll never want to come back."