Kings' Golden 1 Center era begins with glowing reviews, plenty of firsts

Kings' Golden 1 Center era begins with glowing reviews, plenty of firsts

Building a throne for a sports franchise is more expensive than ever, even if your are the Kings. But the early reviews of the recently-opened $560-million Golden 1 Center are glowing...

"Most Technologically Advanced Arena in the World"
-- NY Times

"The Highest-Tech Stadium in Sports is Pretty Much a Giant Tesla"

"The Kings New Arena was Designed with Sacramento in Mind"
---Sports Illustrated

Vivek Ranadive' ownership group have decreed firsts, biggests and bests in three major areas with the Golden 1 Center...

Design: First ever indoor-outdoor arena of its kind
Solar: The first 100-percent solar-powered arena
Sustainability: First LEED Platinum professional sports venue in the world with 100,000 people within walking distance of the arena
Jumobtron: First ever 4K ultra HD board in the NBA; largest in the NBA at 84 feet in length
Connectivity: World’s most connected sports and entertainment venue with two Ethernet dedicated internet circuits, each with a capacity of 100 gigabits

Fan App: First of its kind as a dual-mode Kings and Golden 1 Center app; first sports app to utilize a chat-bot style artificial intelligence user interface
Staying Connected: More than 1,000 next generation Wi-Fi access points; one million square feet of Wi-Fi cellular coverage

I haven’t been to the arena yet, but I asked one of my colleagues who knows Sacramento and Kings history to give me his first person experience:

"What is so striking about the new Golden 1 Center in downtown is its inclusiveness. When you are outside the building you are included into the setting by huge and welcoming floor-to-ceiling doors that allow you to see into the arena from the spacious outside concourse. While outside you can enjoy the event, be it a game or a concert, on the large 4K screens that can be seen from outside the entrance. Once inside, you are you drawn into the action before you even arrive at your seat by the openness of the interior concourse that runs around the arena. At no time are you blocked from the action. You have a clear view of the entire arena from above as you head toward your seat or to a concession area.

"It will also serve as a re-birth for the downtown community. K Street, also known as The Kay, is vibrant with new development that includes restaurants and entertainment. The development is spreading like a wave throughout the downtown area with new livable dwellings, hotels and retail that will further improve downtown. The number of cranes overhead and construction sites around show just how valuable the new Golden 1 Center will be to the area."


The point man for this come-from-behind victory for Kings fans happened to be a former NBA All-Star point guard who knew how to weave through the complicated bureaucratic traffic of big time pro sports politics. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson used his last-second heroics, persuasive powers and ability to leap tall new arena challenges in a single bound to save the day and the franchise. 

Northern California is chock full of sports and entertainment competition with the Warriors, Giants, A’s, 49ers, Raiders, Sharks, Earthquakes along with Cal, Stanford and a multiplicity of other sports and active outdoor activities. Expansion of the Kings' kingdom will take some time. The venue explosion in the market will see the Warrior’s Chase Center with a planned Mission Bay opening in 2019 and who knows what will happen with the Raiders and A’s in Oakland. Sacramento Republic FC is a leading candidate for MLS expansion along with a new place to play in the Kings' hood.

No matter how much steel, glass, technology, sustainability, connectivity, gourmet food, video magic, planning and logic go into a new arena, properly injecting heart and soul into a new sports venue is the ultimate challenge for team owners and management. Fans may fall in love with a new facility as they have with AT&T Park or the jury may be out with questions about Levi’s Stadium. It takes time for a sports venue to mature because the most important part of the equation is the fan base that fills the seats -- their time, their money, their passion for their team.

The credit union Golden 1 will pay the Kings $120 million over 20 years. 

Although its 17,500-person capacity makes the Golden 1 Center one of the NBA's smallest, the new arena includes 34 suites and 48 mini-suites. About 14 percent of the seats are premium seats, which is in line with NBA standards.


King’s owner Vivek Ranadive has called Golden 1 the "Tesla of Arenas." The only drawback with this analogy is when you lose the initial exciting charge you have to find a place to plug in when the needle points to "feed me."

What does Harrison Barnes' choice to become free agent mean for Kings?


What does Harrison Barnes' choice to become free agent mean for Kings?

SACRAMENTO -- Harrison Barnes, unrestricted free agent.

The news certainly came as a surprise Tuesday morning when the Kings forward chose to walk away from the final year of his contract that would have paid him $25.1 million next season.

While it might have been slightly unexpected, it wasn’t for Kings general manager Vlade Divac and his team. It might have even been the plan all along.

At 27 years old, Barnes has plenty of basketball in his future, and the Kings would like him to remain a part of that. According to multiple sources, the Kings are confident they can lock up their starting small forward to a long-term deal.

There's always a risk that Barnes will find the open market enticing and leave without compensation for Sacramento. That would be bad news for the Kings’ offseason plans, but it also would open up a massive amount of salary-cap space for the team to aggressively pursue other options.

Don’t be shocked if Barnes and the Kings move quickly on a four-year deal once free agency opens June 30. Barnes follows the age arc of most of the roster, and he instantly fit in as a veteran leader with deep playoff experience.

Barnes had the option of accepting his player option and then working on an extension with the Kings later in the offseason. By opting out, there is a possibility that he is willing to forgo some of the $25.1 million this season for a long-term stability.

Is Barnes worth a four-year, $72 million to $80 million contract? To the Kings, the answer is yes. And a contract like that immediately would impact Sacramento’s bottom line.

With Barnes, the Kings have approximately $67 million in guaranteed contracts for the upcoming season. That doesn’t include a $6.3 million qualifying offer for Willie Cauley-Stein, $1.6 million in non-guaranteed money for Frank Mason, or a team option on Yogi Ferrell at $3.1 million.

Without Barnes’ $25.1 million, Sacramento has $41.9 million in guaranteed deals and $67.1 million in available space. The Kings have another $6.3 million in minimum salary-cap holds, giving them roughly $60.8 million in available space, again, without Ferrell, Cauley-Stein or Mason.

There are further cap implications, like massive holds for Barnes and Cauley-Stein, but those are complicated and require far more explanation. The short answer is that the Kings can eliminate those holds by renouncing their rights to either player.

While nothing is locked up with Barnes as of June 18, this might be a perfect world scenario for the Kings. If he takes a longer-term deal, but with a reduced salary in Year 1, it gives the team additional resources up front while retaining an important part of their core.

A starting salary of $18 million to $20 million would open an extra $5 million to $7 million in cap space for this summer, giving Divac and his staff the ammunition necessary to chase a major free agent and still have enough to make one or two major additional improvements.

[RELATED: Kings get good look at two guards in final pre-draft workout]

This likely is the Kings’ road map for this summer, although there are no guarantees that they can pull it all off. Step one now is to retain Barnes. Step two is to swing for the fences and fill the voids in the rotation.

Source: Kings' Harrison Barnes declines $25M option, now free agent

Source: Kings' Harrison Barnes declines $25M option, now free agent

Harrison Barnes had until June 29 to mull over a $25 million player option for next season, and it appears the veteran forward has made his decision.

NBC Sports California confirmed Tuesday that Barnes informed the Kings that he'll walk away from the final year of his deal and become an unrestricted free agent.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report the news.

According to a league source, Sacramento is confident it can keep Barnes in the fold with a new long-term contract, although the former Maverick and Warrior has the ability to sign with any NBA team once free agency begins June 30. 

[RELATED: Barnes looks back on India trip]

With Barnes opting out, the Kings' salary-cap figure just dramatically shifted. Sacramento has just under $42 million in guaranteed contracts for this season, leaving the team with close to $67 million in available cash to spend. 

Barnes spent plenty of time in Sacramento early this summer working out with his current teammates. He also made a trip to India with the NBA, where the Kings will play two games during the upcoming preseason.