Today’s AreKingsSoldOrNot status: no

So let’s get this out of the way first this morning: No, the Sacramento Kings haven’t been sold. In fact, though it didn’t seem possible, the rumors around the fate of the former Kansas City-Omaha Kings/Cincinnati Royals/Rochester Royals have if anything gotten even murkier:

  • Everybody on the planet is now rumored to be looking to buy the team from the Maloof brothers. Or at least everybody in or near Sacramento: the owner of Sleep Train Mattress Center (which recently bought naming rights to the Kings arena), perpetual rumored-Kings-buyer Ron Burkle, a couple of other local guys either loaded with money or friends with people who are, and of course Seattle hopeful Chris Hansen. Then there’s JMA Ventures, owner of a downtown Sacramento mall, who say they want to work on building an arena on their site if somebody else buys the team, or maybe they’d buy the team themselves, or something.
  • Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says he’s still willing to spend $255 million toward a new arena, though there remains the problem that that $255 million partly comes from “to be determined,” which was a large part of the reason why the Kings owners freaked out and backed away from it last April.
  • There’s still that report that the Maloofs only want to sell the Kings if they can keep a percentage of the team and still have a say in how it’s run. Though other reports have indicated the Maloofs would give up on retaining control (pretty much everything reported the last few days has been contradicted by someone else somewhere), this certainly could prove a stumbling block, as it’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to have the Maloofs as an active partner at this point.
  • Radio talk show host and NBA writer Ric Bucher reported Saturday that the Maloofs are considering “a threat to take the sweetheart deal still waiting for them in Orange County and, should the other owners not approve the deal out of allegiance to [Jerry] Buss and the [Los Angeles] Lakers, take them to court with an anti-trust suit.’’

Meanwhile, a city freaks out. And even Seattle sportswriters feel their pain.

13 comments on “Today’s AreKingsSoldOrNot status: no

  1. “…and still have a say in how the team is run…”

    Oh boy. Well, when you find your specialty in life… you know the thing you were born to do…

    Run potential investors. Run like hell.

  2. If the Kings do remain in Sacramento, I don’t think they’ll drop their demand to continue to have a say in how the team is run. Their logic will be, “We took less money for the team, so we should still have a role.”

    But, really, I think all they’re doing here is trying to sell more tickets. One last little fling with the city before they leave a note on the pillow: “Thanks for everything, suckers!”.

    The part people keep forgetting is that there really is no home-town discount here. If the team remains in that arena, they have to keep paying down that debt over time; and if they move to a new arena in town, they have to pay down that debt immediately. So, sure, they knock $75M off the purchase price, but one way or another, they still have to pay that $75M (or $140M, if they stick more-or-less to the terms drawn up in April).

    This really will cap local interest in the team.

    I just hope KJ doesn’t panic and offer debt forgiveness on the current loan. I think that’s the outcome the Maloofs are really hoping for. And if new owners came in and KJ then forgave that debt, the Maloofs would probably have a basis for a lawsuit.

    I learned nothing from this weekend. I still think Ballmer and Hansen are way more motivated than locals think they are, and have deeper pockets as well. What they’re doing here is way cheaper than an expansion team. I think they’re sufficiently motivated to go all the way to $600M. Seriously, I think they’d go that high, if necessary.

  3. New article on sacbee is completely unconvincing. If the Kings leave, we’ll be the second-largest market without a sports team. Largest market would be Riverside County, in Southern California, with a population twice the size of Sacramento’s.

    Ironically, moving the team to Anaheim would more-or-less solve that problem. Oh, sure, it misses the mark by 20 miles or so. Sounds like a nearly-direct hit to me.

    But I don’t believe they’ll wind up in Anaheim. I still think it’s going to be Seattle. This price is going to be higher than expected, because Hansen-Ballmer believe they can justify it for at least 2 reasons: It’s still cheaper than an expansion team, and it’s a lot faster and more certain than the expansion process (many people, myself included, think contraction makes more sense than expansion right now).

  4. As we move through today, I’m left with the impression that an announcement is imminent.

    1) Valuation is between $500M-$525M.
    2) Maloofs will have no role.
    3) Hansen-Ballmer will purchase between 53% and 65% of the team, so the amount they fork over will be somewhere between 53% of $500M and 65% of $525M. Reports on this vary. I would expect they plan to buy out the remaining minority partners in the future.
    4) The NBA relocation committee has been informed via conference call last Tuesday.
    5) Team will relocate at the end of this season.

    Seattle’s mayor claims he does not know what’s going on; many are skeptical of this claim.

  5. Mike:

    I thought the sabre rattling about “remaining involved” was simply about raising the price a few tens of millions in order to compensate them for “their loss” of involvement.

    This is the Maloofs, after all…

  6. Mayor KJ has told us that he will be out of town for much of 2013 “Promoting Sacramento” (I think he means “Promoting KJ”) Maybe annual presentations to the NBA Board of Governors. I’m ok with Mayor KJ taking a counteroffer to the NBA if he’s part of a group buying the team.

    Ironically, NBATV so far has the best coverage of this affair.

    Or you could watch Sacramento Bee columnist Marcos Breton going apopleptic:,d.cGE

  7. I hope that the Maloofs (Malooves?) do sue the NBA for anti-trust. Also, here in Seattle we are constantly told that Hansen is transparent, and completely upfront; so why won’t Hansen say if there is a deal, or not? The Kings fans deserve to know if the team is going to move, so that the Kings fans can decide whether to buy tickets, or not, for the rest of the season. If Hansen has some kind of deal, and does not announce it, then Hansen is no different than Clay Bennett. This is more, and more, looking like the same type of sordid action that took place in Seattle. So, the “upfront” Hansen needs to make an announcement, or be (once again) proven to be dishonest,

  8. If the Maloofs “sell” the team, I would not be suprised if the Maloofs end up owning most of the outstanding 35% of the team that would not be part of the current deal. The Maloofs probably already have first rights to purchase contracts with the monority owners, and probably an already negotiated price. My prediction is that if the team is sold that the Maloofs will suprise everyone and end up with at least 20% of the team.

  9. Jhande: No chance.

    The NBA gets to clear owners of NBA teams. There’s really no way the Maloofs would be allowed back in. If Hansen-Ballmer don’t end up with at least 60% of the team, they won’t be buying it at all.

  10. Bruski just published a column. In it, he says the BOG meets in April.

    Relocation deadline is March 1. Can you imagine the hue and cry if Maloofs agree to sell to Hansen, and the relocation papers are submitted in a timely fashion, and then in mid-April, the Maloofs say, “Okay, wait a second.”?

    That really won’t happen. Seriously. It will not.

  11. Now the fans are at war. The open letter published in Grantland really struck a nerve in Sacramento. It’s a real pass-the-popcorn moment. The fans here have responded with their own open letter.

    Which is bad for me. Popcorn sends me to the emergency room just about every time.

    By the way, in order for the Kings to stay, they have to simultaneously figure out an arena deal, and the Council hasn’t authorized that. Gee, I wonder if the board of governors will notice that. Hmm. Probably.

    Oh, and 7% of the team is about to be sold on the stairs of a bankruptcy court. I’d love to see Hansen and Burkle go to blows over that 7%.

  12. Sacramento is an embarassment to the greatness of the Golden State. The “Oklahoma City” of the Valley – doesn’t deserve a team.

    Good riddance Queefs. Sell Suckramento to Nevada.

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