After the Kings were retained in Sacramento by a local ownership group, a word started bubbling up about the next target for relocation, be it to Seattle or elsewhere.
The Bradley Center is one of the smallest and oldest arenas in the league, housing a small-market team and run by former Senator Herb Kohl. BizJournals.com reports that at a private meeting, Deputy Commissioner and soon-to-be-Commissioner Adam Silver told sponsors that situation has to change.
“One obvious issue we all have to deal with is we need a new arena in Milwaukee,” said Adam Silver, deputy National Basketball Association commissioner, speaking of the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
“At the end of the day compared to other modern arenas in the league, this arena is a few hundred thousand square feet too small,” Silver said. “It doesn't have the sort of back-of-house space you need, doesn't have the kinds of amenities we need.
“It doesn't have the right sort of upper bowl/lower bowl (seating) configuration for the teams frankly that Milwaukee wants to compete against,” he said.
Now, the article lists some odd stuff, including the fact that Kansas City "is building" a new arena, when in reality, the Sprint Center in KC is six years old next month. But this seems to make sense on multiple levels. Silver is taking office in February and has to start laying out an agenda. If keeping a team in Sacramento was Stern's final major ownership move, getting a new arena in Milwaukee is at the top of Silver's.
Right behind it? Getting any team that doesn't cooperate with the league's priorities to Seattle. You can do the math here. This is Silver stating the expectation. Figure out how to fund a new arena. Of course, that final decision will come down to Kohl himself, whose family has made it clear the former Senator plans to do whatever necessary to keep it in the state.
The question will be how much the state wants to fight for it. BrewHoop.com points out:
The Bucks would love to just flip on the switch that gets the ground broken on new arena plans, but a) they're a small market franchise and it's hard to drum up the money quickly, and b) they haven't been terribly good of late, so gaining public interest (read: $$$$) is also more difficult. Several surrounding counties have already voiced their stance against a regional tax for the new arena. This is not to say that a new arena isn't going to happen. It's just the wall put in front of the Bucks is a little bit higher than they'd prefer it to be.
Kohl has consistently put together efforts to keep the Bucks competitive, if not a contender. He's a good owner and an asset to the league. But arena design has become a key element in profitability for franchises, and with the Kings valued at over $500 million and team prices skyrocketing, owners want to keep the property values up, so to speak.
This is going to be an issue until there's a resolution one way or another. But that sound you hear is the Seattle sharks starting to circle.