NBA to Sacramento Kings buyers: Show us your Benjamins

The NBA owners are set to vote in Dallas next Wednesday on what the heck to do with the Sacramento Kings, and if you’ve been following closely, you’ll know that it’s actually two votes: One on whether to approve the team’s relocation to Seattle, and one on whether to approve the Maloof brothers’ sale of the team to Seattle-area buyers Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer. And while the league’s relocation committee voted unanimously last week to recommend rejecting the move to Seattle, its finance committee still hasn’t weighed in with a recommendation on the actual sale.

And even after the city of Sacramento came up with $334 million worth of cash and other goodies toward an arena, and the would-be Sacramento buyers agreed to give up any future revenue-sharing money, that doesn’t mean the NBA is going to stop leaning on Vivek Ranadive and his Sacramento partners to sweeten their offer:

With an NBA vote on the future of the Sacramento Kings just a week away, a source says the league is encouraging a Sacramento business group to put 100 percent of its $341 million team purchase offer into an escrow account in hopes of persuading the Maloof family, team owners, to sign a deal with the local group.

A league source familiar with the situation said NBA officials are suggesting the private investment group led by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Vivek Ranadive make the move to prove it has the wherewithal to sign what has been described as a back-up offer to purchase the team.

What appears to be going on here, if the Sacramento Bee’s unnamed sources can be believed and I’m reading between the lines properly, is that the NBA really really wants the Maloofs to withdraw their offer to sell the team to Hansen and Ballmer, instead sell to Ranadive et al., thus absolving the league from having to pick one buyer over the other. And the best way to make the Maloofs happy, apparently, is to present them with the purchase price in the form of briefcases full of cash.

If Ranadive’s group balks at putting the full amount in escrow, then things get interesting. Do the Maloofs threaten to make things ugly for the NBA if their sale is rejected? Do Hansen and Ballmer? Does the NBA tell the Seattle group, “Fine, go ahead and buy the team, but we’re not going to let you move it?”, thus setting up Sonicsgate: California? Does the league just put off voting on the sale — because hey, can’t do anything while the finance committee is still thinking about it, right? — until after next week, while voting on the relocation request? Are you getting yet why the NBA is hoping the Ranadive group will just cut a deal with the Maloofs and save them all this agita?

Further complicating matters: The relocation vote is a straight majority, while a sale requires a three-quarters supermajority for approval. Which seems like it likely won’t be an issue, given that the unanimous relocation committee vote probably indicates that commissioner David Stern is insisting on reaching league consensus before any official votes are taken. But it does raise at least the possibility of even more craziness before this whole long saga draws to a close.


64 comments on “NBA to Sacramento Kings buyers: Show us your Benjamins

  1. As long as the Maloofs are in the picture, it’s safe to bet on craziness. But crazy is not spurning a binding offer that would net them more money. I just don’t see the Maloofs and the Seattle group going away quickly.

  2. If Maloofs walk away for Hansen shouldn’t they be on the hook for the $30M non-refundable deposit? I’ve seen multiple reports say that SacGroup will cover this and if the Ranadive deal is on par with Hansen then it shouldn’t really matter. What the Maloofs probably want to happen is to Hansen to back away or the league to reject the purchase so they can keep the $30M.

  3. JB, I don’t think they’d be on the hook for anything if the NBA denies the Hansen sale. Once it’d denied their “binding” agreement should, if their lawyers had half a brain, cease to be binding and they’d be free to take Sac’s offer.

  4. Well, I’m late to the party. Two posters have already pointed out that the Maloofs have no incentive whatsoever to walk away from their current deal. They sure as heck don’t want to be sued.

    And actually, Neil, this is probably three votes: 65% of the team, relocation, and the 7% Hansen won (fair and square) in a bankruptcy auction. That 7% is still very important; it’s likely that it buys Hansen ROFR in the NEXT PSA. Not the current one, but the NEXT one. That would be the one Ranadive would propose, because there’s nothing official about his proposal right now.

  5. The Maloofs’ incentive would be if they don’t want to risk the NBA rejecting the sale and leaving them stuck with no buyers at all.

  6. That conversation reinforces the idea that it’s all about the size of the gift any city gives the NBA. That’s it in a nutshell.

  7. The Miami Heat got their public $$$ and Jeff Loria probably killed the arena/stadium subsidy racket in FL for a good long time so its nice that the Heat owner is being honest.

  8. So this Micky Arison character is the CEO of Carnival Cruises- so this is the Micky Arison with the ships of poop.

  9. Ha, M I hope that was a rhetorical question. NBA writes its own rules. It cites them as holy when it DOESN’T want to do something and breaks them on a whim when it DOES want to do something. It can do whatever the hell it wants and (somehow) get away with it in courts.

  10. MikeM: The NBA can absolutely say, “Sell to these guys, see, or else we won’t let you sell your team at all.” It happens all the time, in all sports leagues.

    Could the Maloofs try to fight it? Sure, maybe. But if they’d be getting roughly the same deal from the whales, it’s probably not worth their time and effort. Which is no doubt why the NBA is leaning on Ranadive & Co. to get their offer to line up with Hansen’s.

  11. It’s really not good when RE Graswich, who’s on KJ’s staff thus making him a public official, makes that type of insinuation. Then it sounds like tortious interference from the City of Sacramento. I also took him to task on the Twitter. Let’s see if he responds.

  12. If I am remembering correctly R.E. Graswich no longer officially works for KJ or City Hall. Though he is certainly still involved in city hall dealings, all of this is a whole different issue with KJ and how he runs his administration.

    But I certainly would think anything he says is coming from KJ.

  13. I kind of want this thing to wind up in court. I used to think that NBA being in the tank for Sacramento was conspiratorial nonsense but I was wrong. Someone comes up with a deal based on market prices and a relatively minimal public subsidy only to watch goalposts being moved lower and lower for Sacramento. Who cares if the NBA may never award Seattle a franchise? They got nothing to lose. It’s time to sue.

  14. I guess now there’s no mystery about why the Maloofs hired an antitrust lawyer last year.

  15. My guess would be that Stern has “suggested” to the Maloofs that they accept that offer — or else. And “suggesting” is about all they can legally do. They cannot force this.

    So it went by word of mouth to Graswich, and got converted to being an order somewhere along the way. Graswich probably heard that from a source that may not be as connected as Graswich is assuming.

    It’ll be interesting to see where this is in a year, once we have figured out that our cost and revenue estimates were an utter disaster. “Remember when we thought we could build that arena for $447M?” Laughter ensues.

  16. A friend of mine who works in finance wondered if they could get 5.45% for those arena bonds which they expect. Now the Seattle Twittersphere is going after the fan who engaged Micky Arison on Twitter. That fan leaked more knowledge about the NBA’s motives than the last four months of Sacramento Bee articles on this combined.

  17. MikeM, you do realize you’re quoting someone who wrote: ” Based on what I understand of the Sherman Act this does totally enter into antitrust. Then you look at tortuous interference… This is getting fun.”

    It’s certainly getting tortuous, but I think the author meant tortious.

  18. Well, I see enough bad writing to realize that the I and the U are pretty close to each other on the keyboard. Spellcheck thinks it’s correct, so there you go.

    I like to think I cut more slack than the average person. I’m probably wrong about that, though. I kinda think I know what he meant.

  19. I just think that people who think the Maloofs and HBN are going to go silently into the night are completely insane. You do realize that they’re rejecting the “perfect prototype” of an ownership group, correct?

    The only way this gets resolved within 2 months is if the Maloofs and HBN mutually agree to withdraw from the contract. If forced to withdraw, this will run into legal problems that I do not see the league simply working around.

    The first thing the NBA has to explain: Why is it that the “perfect prototype” cannot own 7% of an NBA franchise? That alone would take a week of court time to explain.

  20. But what the Maloofs need to do here is hold a press conference, with supporting documentation, that explains the problems with Sac’s proposed arena deal. Stick with facts, and don’t speculate.

    I’d start here: Just like last year, they won’t be able to sell bonds that are backed by parking meter revenue. Just cite the law that shows that. Once they show that, the rest of the deal is exposed for the crappy proposal it is.

  21. I think the perfect ownership group would give the local town a fighting chance for the team not to be relocated (and most Sonics fans would agree with that notion). I think the perfect ownership group would have noticed that the NBA has an official process for these things and would have thought adding “riders” like non-refundable deposits would be the antithesis of the respectable business they try to do (and is rather unprecedented in the NBA). I think the perfect ownership group would have respected the contract they submitted to the NBA rather than try to do pre-meeting revisions to raise their own, already valid purchase price simply to gain PR.

    They do have money and some desire to put a team in a good market, but perfect is in the eye of the beholder (although the contrasts with the Maloofs can cloud judgement on perfection).

  22. Well, then maybe David Stern should have chosen a different set of words.

  23. It is interesting to me that there is talk encouraging Hansen to sue the NBA over the NBA following the NBA rules about relocation, and franchise sales. The meme seems to be that the NBA rules do not matter, and that the rules are overruled by some unspecified statute. There is vague reference to the broad terms “tortious interference”, and “anti-trust”; but these references never seem to be accompanied by statute, or code numbers.

    So, when the NBA rules prevent Hansen from getting exactly what he wants, some get outraged, and demand lawsuits and “burning the NBA down”.

    So, NBA rules, or wants, do not matter in regards to Hansen.

    Now, for over a year I have had to hear that Seattle must publicly finance an NBA arena, because the NBA demands public subsidies. “Hansen and Ballmer would pay for the arena; but the NBA says there has to be subsidy”, “Its not Hansen, the NBA says he has to get public funds, or we won’t get back the Sonics”. Hansen never protested about this purported NBA subsidy requirement. No, Hansen eagerly had secret meetings with Mcginn to get as much subsidy as possible.
    Funny, when Hansen gains public fund cash and tax exemption because of this purported NBA requirement for a new arena and subsidies; there was none of this anti-trust talk, or calls against the NBA.
    If the NBA rules on relocation and change of ownership approval are anti-trust; then certainly requirements for publicly subsidized arenas are anti-trust.

    How come nobody cared about anti-trust when NBA requirements could be used by Hansen to justify gaining wheelbarrows full of public funds?
    Those justifications by Hansen, and his adherents (can’t really call them supporters anymore, their motto is “Trust in Chris”), ring very hollow now with the anti-trust, and lawsuit talk over NBA rules.

    It turns out that it was Hansen grabbing for as much free money from Seattle as he could stuff in his greedy pockets. The unwritten NBA arena subsidy requirement was simply Hansen PR to prevent him from looking like the craven rent seeker his actions prove him to be.

    Here in Seattle, many of the same individuals screaming for anti-trust lawsuits, were the same individuals screaming at anyone who questioned subsidy to an arena. At the present time keeping the toxic mess that is the NBA as far away from Seattle as possible would be providential for Seattle.

  24. The anti-trust issue may not be about the subsidy but the subsidies are about the NBA’s monopoly power. The NBA has had franchises in both Seattle and Sacramento for over 20 years and the market could support one now. But to maximize profits, the NBA is using its monopoly power to restrict the number of franchises and that is what forced the city of Sacramento to offer over $300M for what looks like a winning bid while Seattle’s public subsidy offer was roughly $200M. This system of extracting public dollars needs to be broken and anti-trust will at least shed light on the NBA’s business practices. I’ve read bloggers and writers who hammered the Maloofs for threatening public funding for arenas. Obviously, those troglodyte bloggers are too rock stupid to realize that government has many more important responsibilities than subsidizing businesses that sell exhibitions of grown men depositing an orange ball into a hoop.

  25. Jason. I agree. I keep reading tweets and commenters telling Seattle to blame their politicians, but isn’t that what they were supposedly tasked to do? I’m a warrior fan, so I’ve got no dog in this fight (though truthfully i’d like them to go to seattle so i don’t see any purple at the oracle lol), i don’t care where the team ends up, as long as the deal is a fair deal to the municipal, which i know is probably a pipe dream.

  26. I guess the binding part is that the Maloofs could only deal with Hansen and Ballmer. I guess H&B are motivated buyers who are not going to “bow out graciously.”

  27. I think Hansen/Ballmer are doing this because they know either this willl get them the Kings, or convince someone else that they need to sell their team to them. No way The Timberwolves owner or Michael Jordan arent at least considering selling their teams to this group now.

  28. I’m sure Hansen’s offer hardens the Maloofs’ position. How will the NBA push them to sell to Ranadive now?

  29. I think the NBA owners just got put in a difficult position. For those who state that Hansen is desperate, well, yeah, he is. He’s negotiating in the language that the NBA likes to hear: Cash.

    So now Hansen & Ballmer are offering, what is it now, $100 million more than the Sacramento group? If the NBA still turns down Hansen, I can’t see the Maloofs accepting the lesser amount. An NBA team is only worth what someone is willing to spend for it, and we now know what (ridiculous) amount that is. But I guarantee there are some other NBA owners who are starting to chub up a bit.

  30. Argh… this crap is getting tortuous to the extreme at this point (note the u). Just get this vote over with.

  31. ChefJoe, everyone in this story plus the media and all of us had it but I think this story will go on in Sacto for a long time, regardless.

  32. ChefJoe, I really do feel pretty sure that escalation clauses in contracts written in the United States (and other countries) are legal. Sorry. No court will reject this.

    What a court WILL reject, though, is the idea that the the BOG would force a $100M smaller valuation for one of their teams. That reeks of “losing case” in a court of law.

    This could wind up being a unanimous vote after all.

  33. Jason, I agree with you. Sacramento needs to forge ahead with an arena deal.

    This one was too rushed and was bound to fail, so thank goodness it’s dead.

    Just get something done, and then hope for the NBA to offer expansion.

  34. The NBA wouldn’t “expand” to Sacramento after burning their fanbase so recently. They should have concerns about the Sonics fanbase in Seattle even just 5 years after spurning them (suite sales were 24.5 of 48 suites at KeyArena in the 2005-2006 season, before the team sold).
    The escalation clauses in typical contracts are written in to accommodate multiple offers, there’d be no reason to write one into a binding contract. I think Hansen’s just crossing off numbers and writing in larger ones and have just as much fact (none) to back that up as the idea that there’s an escalation clause in there.

    http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2008005572_sonictrialside19.html
    When asked to explain the apathy, Barth said: “Individuals obviously have a problem with the fact of our ownership group and their being from Oklahoma. The apathy towards that has been very strong.”

    Barth said the Sonics have suffered wide-ranging setbacks recently that include:
    • $27.6 million net losses in the 2007-08 season.
    • The Sonics sold just 5-½ of KeyArena’s 48 suites in 2007-08, a dramatic decline from 19-½ the previous season and 24-½ in 2005-06
    • The Sonics sold just 72 of 1,100 available season tickets for club seats in 2007-08.
    • Nearly 30 percent of fans who purchased tickets did not attend games in 2007-08.
    • The Sonics ranked 27th out of 30 in the NBA in both average net gate receipts and average paid attendance.
    • Ratings for Sonics games on FSN declined 61 percent since Seattle’s last playoff appearance in 2005 and plummeted to 1.24 last season.

  35. While I have no love for the way organizations like the NBA, every time I hear “anti-trust” and “monopoly” misused in situations like this I cringe.

    Sure, the Maloofs would have every right to pursue legal action if the NBA rejected a Hansen offer that is significantly higher than other offers. But the idea that rejecting the move to Seattle is “monopolistic” or “anti-competitive” is ridiculous. The NBA can’t be “anti-competitive” with itself. It should be perfectly valid to enforce franchise agreements. And this is all about the SACRAMENTO franchise – until the NBA chooses to let it become the Seattle franchise.

    Mr. Robinson’s article at SonicsRising.com is interesting, but when he writes: “..the Hansen group has a strong argument that the NBA’s decision against relocation has an anti-competitive effect that does not merely regulate, but destroys competition”, he’s guilty of manipulating the concept of “anti-competitive” in the anti-trust sense for his own purposes. Thinking that anti-trust law should apply between divisions of a business entity (such as between teams in the NBA) is a very large stretch. If this was about the NBA preventing another league from entering Seattle, that would be anti-competitive. But it’s not. This is just about exercising the league’s rights as specified in franchise agreements. And having the courts waste time and money on this kind of thing would annoy me just as much as localities subsidizing professional sports venues.

  36. If Sacramento was really playing to win, they’d offer to pay for the whole arena. While the Sonics struggled in the last years in SEA, the market values them at $625M.

  37. ESPN is reporting the Maloofs have also agreed to a backup deal with Hansens group where Maloofs only sell 20% of the team and remain majority owners, and apply to move the team themselves, and that they have decided if the NBA says no to either proposed Hansen bid, the team is off the market, and wont be sold to the Sacramento group.

  38. The NBA could really screw over Hansen and Ballmer if the NBA wished. The NBA could deny relocation, and approve the sale to Hansen. Then the NBA could deny relocation everytime Hansen attempts relocation. So, Hansen would end up owning the Sacramento team for years. It would be hard for Hansen to sell his Sacramento ownership at the price he is paying for the 65% of the Kings. So, would Hansen, Ballmer, and the Nordstroms change the name to the Sacramento Sonics?

  39. Yeah, I’m sure the NBA is led by morons.

    Oh, you want to buy a large share of this team we recommend stay in the Sacramento market you just gave a powerpoint presentation on as a terrible market that the league needs to exit. Sounds legit. Welcome to the owners boxes, here’s a copy of our top secret bylaws.

  40. Let’s just say that despite the way better bid, the NBA still says no to Hansen as an owner, but before Hansen can sue the NBA, a team (lets say the Timberwolves) jumps forward and offers the team to Hansen and Co, who come to an agreement with Glen Taylor, and this time the NBA says yes to the bid and the move. Could the Maloffs sue the NBA and win the lawsuit over the fact they either had to accept a crappier deal or couldn’t sell the team at all, when someone else in the league could?

    Anyway, at this point I think either what jhande wondered aloud will happen (at least for a few years), or the NBA will block Hansen and dare the Maloofs to take the team off the market entirely. I think the NBA will out of pride refuse to leave Sacramento now, no matter how horrible things are and how much money it means it will lose, just as it has happened with the NHL in Glendale, and that if Hansen doesn’t start kissing a ton of ass throughout the NBA he will end up just like Jim Balsillie: someone who will likely never get a team where he wants it.

  41. The Maloofs would not be majority owners if they sold 20% of the team. The Maloofs would not be majority owners if they sold 20% of the share of the Kings that the Maloofs own. The Maloofs own 53% of the Kings, after selling 20% of the Kings the Maloofs would only have 33%.

    This is kind of getting silly. Hansen’s bid for the Kings has changed considerably. The Hansen bid is now different from the bid that the NBA has researched, and vetted.

    So, I could see the NBA voting on the Maloofs request for relocation; and I can also see the NBA putting off the vote on the change of ownership. Hansen’s recent additions to his original offer constitutes an entirely new offer. The NBA could require that Hansen file new paperwork, and then the NBA has 120 days to vote on a change of ownership. That would have a decision put off until the middle of September 2013.
    Hopefully, that would not happen.

  42. Yeah, I agree, if it were me as an owner I would kind of be sick of Hansen. I would also not allow an ownership group in, that wishes to bully its way in. What next would they bully for?

  43. I think Hansen paying me $4 million would assuage any nausea I’m experiencing.

  44. HBN did not bully their way in. They followed the process to the letter. Just go back and review what they did.

    If anyone acted like a bully, I’d say it’s KJ. Putting together a counteroffer (which I will again point out is not yet complete) that is $100M less than the current HBN purchase price, and KJ puts together a group anyway? And then manages to convince the NBA to vote against an already-agreed-to offer, in favor of something that kinda-sorta resembles an actual offer, but for $100M less?

    Hansen did everything above-board. He’s being interfered with. He and the Maloofs have every right to play hardball to defend their established business relationship.

  45. Well, except for that whole part where the Maloofs didn’t even attempt to sell to a local ownership group…. even Howard Schultz was saying for months how he’d sell the team if an arena deal couldn’t be put together. When Howard did follow through on that, he sold to an ownership group (and the only one) that committed to exploring a Seattle arena for at least a year. Ballmer didn’t even bid on the Sonics in 2006.

  46. What local ownership group is there? The Kings tried Larry Ellison. The Maloofs were looking for the highest bidder. Who needs Vivek and Mastrov when Steve Ballmer and his billions came a call in’? Sacramento has wealth but not billionaire wealth. I don’t think the Executive Director of the Air Resources Board has that kind of cash.

  47. Schultz said he was reached out to by San Jose but he ultimately ended up selling to Bennett because Bennett was the only one offering to keep pursing a Seattle arena for a year. That sort of “seek local solutions” was offered by Schultz, not offered by the Maloofs who kept saying “the team isn’t for sale”.

    KJ put together a local ownership group even when they’d be overpaying for the team to beat a group hellbent on relocation. If the NBA had bylaws that favored local ownership groups buying/not moving a team at the same time they’re bought this wouldn’t be such a big issue.

  48. Chefjoe, you make no sense. Thinking Bennet was going to look for a local arena deal is as naive as thinking that’s what Hansen will do in Sacramento..

  49. You mean like Save Our Sonics leaders were saying Clay was doing in 2006 ? Schultz loudly said he was going to move the team or sell it without a public arena deal back in 2005-2006. I’ve never heard any local Seattle billionares say that they tried to step in to buy the team in 2006…. in fact, Wally, Nordstroms all sold their fraction of the team. Clay was the only one willing to even attempt to ask for a new arena for another year and, as much as you like to paint him as a villain, he did ask but wasn’t going to take the hit of bowing out of being an NBA team owner just because Seattle’s NBA arena dreams didn’t materializel.

    http://seattletimes.com/html/nba/2003476745_sonics14m.html
    Some Sonics’ supporters who were initially suspicious of Bennett now believe he is serious — and is approaching the arena fight with more savvy than Schultz did.

    “When we first started this we thought our role was going to be watchdogging and potentially adversarial with the organization,” said Brian Robinson, director of the nonprofit group Save Our Sonics and Storm.

    But after observing the new owners’ actions, Robinson said, “I have been convinced of their sincerity at almost every level.”

    Sports-industry consultant Marc Ganis said Bennett doesn’t have a choice — NBA Commissioner David Stern won’t willingly trade the large Seattle market for much-smaller Oklahoma City.

    “From everything I have heard and picked up in the industry, this is a serious effort,” said Ganis, president of Sportscorp Ltd., a Chicago-based consulting firm.

    “You wouldn’t even want to try and move a franchise unless David Stern approves. I think he wants to make sure every possible avenue in the Seattle market is exhausted,” Ganis said. “If after that it comes back it is not feasible, that’s when a team owner can come back to the league and say I tried everything, you’ve got to do something.”

    NBA spokesman Tim Frank said, “We’re not even looking” at letting the Sonics move. “Seattle is a terrific market. Mr. Bennett realizes that, and he wants to try to get a deal done.”

  50. No current team owner in America is bound by a requirement to look for a local buyer first. Not even one.

    They usually feel some moral obligation to do so; that is true. But required? Nope.

    HBN followed every single official rule there is.

  51. So what if Hansen and Ballmer followed every rule (and that is debateable). An individual with class would know that one should allow the opportunity for a locality to keep a team. Hansen and Ballmer have done the opposite. They have worked to place obstacles for an effort to keep the Kings in Sacramento. So, rules schmules, Hansen and Ballmer show no class, or moral compass. I wouldn’t care but these two punks have lobbied Seattle politicians to gain public funds and tax exemption. These two classless lowlives, Hansen and Ballmer, deserve no subsidy from Seattle. Seattle does not need to be tainted by the scumbags Hansen and Ballmer.

  52. Sacramento is learning the lesson that when you play with dogs, you get fleas. This is what happens when you try to do business with David Stern and the Maloofs. How could I be sympathetic when Sacramento has done everything it could to avoid a voter referendum on arena subsidies? How could I be sympathetic when the city hosts three forums on the term sheet BEFORE the term sheet is released. How could I be sympathetic when out of towners such as Carmichael Dave and State Senator Ted Gaines support using other people’s tax money to subsidize their entertainment? How could I be sympathetic to Kevin Johnson’s pleas that this isn’t a bidding war when Sacramento’s arena subsidy is valued at 50 percent more than Seattles? How could I be sympathetic with the Kings fan who forgets that the Maloofs are the controlling partners of the team? Would that fan like to hear thousands of Internet Trolls telling him how much he should sell his house for? Sacramento only understands politics and spin, not business and finance. I love this city but sometimes hearing my neighbors talk get’s on my last nerve.

  53. … if only the NBA was run by a progressive consensus builder like Allan H. Selig, this sort of thing could all be resolved through the creation and funding of a blue ribbon panel on… oh, wait….

  54. Mike:

    Hansen and the Maloofs don’t have an “established business relationship”. What they have is a proposed sale agreement that needs to be approved by the NBA before it can take effect. Chris Hansen can call it a “binding agreement” if he likes. He (and his lawyers) are well aware it isn’t worth a dime until the NBA stamps it.

    No amount of wishing or sabre rattling (in the case of the Maloofs) can change that.

    Hansen wants to own the Seattle Supersonics. The Maloofs, once again, do not own that asset and cannot sell it. Only the NBA can bring the Sonics back into existence.

    If Hansen’s group want to waive their condition relating to relocation, I’m sure the NBA would welcome them into the fold as the new owners of the Kings in Sacramento.

    I think there’s still a really good chance that the KJ chewing gum and pixie dust plan collapses before the summer is over. The worst thing Hansen & Ballmer could do right now is attempt to push David Stern around…

  55. jhande, I think the thing is that Hansen and Ballmer have realized that this is their only clear shot at getting a team, and it’s unlikely they will get another anytime soon. They want to go all in now, instead of taking a step back to wait for the next bus, only for one to never come. It could be a decade until the NBA expands again, and in addition, it will also be a decade before the arena problems resurface for a lot of teams because of the large amount of arenas built in the mid-90s to mid-00s, so this pretty much could be the only chance they get for a long, long time. I’d do every last thing I could if

  56. I was in their shoes, because when you only have got one shot to get what you want to do done, you have to play to win, not play to avoid losing. If they never upped either bid or made any offers the owners already would have voted down on Hansen all the way around and the Maloofs might have accepted the Sac bid; they at least have kept their bid alive by doing this, even if it’s total BS. I would have done the same exact thing they did if I was them, so no matter how bad what they are doing is or isn’t, I can’t lie and say I would take the high road if I was in their shoes.

  57. Ryan:

    The problem is that they don’t have just one chance. They are essentially in a kind of warped “interview” process with the other owners. If there’s one thing we’ve seen from both the NBA and other leagues, it’s that the way to get in is to play nice and be cordial. Then, they’ll tell you what franchise you are getting and when.

    The desperation/bull in a china shop approach might sell newspapers and curry favour amongst the committed fans, but it does nothing but hurt Hansen/Ballmer in the eyes of the league and other owners.

    The bottom line is that they don’t have to let anyone in they don’t want to. Franchise organizations are partnerships, in a manner of speaking. Who wants a bully for a partner? Certainly not an existing group of bullies…