The somewhat distant dream of bringing the NBA back to Seattle was given new life - or perhaps a faint glimmer of vitality - when Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer decided to sell $1.34 billion of his holdings in the software giant.
It's not necessarily news that Ballmer has interest in bringing the NBA back to Seattle and invest in some KeyArena or new arena strategy. And certainly, the fact that a man of his means has a little extra money laying around doesn't necessarily mean anything is more imminent now than it was before.
But how familiar does this excerpt from Ron Trujillo of the Sacramento Business Journal sound:
Microsoft's Ballmer buying the Sacramento Kings? Not likely
It’s a far-fetched plan, one that has garnered little attention outside of Seattle, which lost the SuperSonics in 2008.
Joe Maloof, a co-owner of Maloof Sports & Entertainment and the Kings, said Monday he has "never met Mr. Ballmer, we’ve had no contact with him and the team is not for sale."
Kings spokesman Mitch Germann confirmed George Maloof, also a co-owner of the Kings, visited with Seattle-area leaders in recent months, but the conversation focused on financing a sports arena — not selling the team.
So wait: there's a report that an owner of a financially struggling team had a conversation with people from a city interested in getting a team back in their city about financing a sports arena but not selling, even though there's a very rich man in that city who is apparently interested in bringing a team to his city?
You might have a hard time convincing Seattle fans that this isn't reason for either grounded optimism or empathetic despair.