Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee reports:

The Sacramento Kings’ season ticket sales have already surpassed last year’s total, team officials said this week, thanks to NBA marketing assistance and a newfound ardor among fans after the team nearly left town this spring.

But that bonanza could slow, starting Friday.

The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement expires at midnight Thursday. If the league and players don’t come to a new agreement by then, a lockout may ensue, and with it the possibility that the upcoming season will be shortened or canceled entirely.

That untimely drama creates new questions about the team’s future in Sacramento. Can the team owners, who have struggled financially, handle months of lost momentum as they try to rebuild fan and corporate support in Sacramento?