Seattle group trying to force sale of Kings
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
The Sacramento Kings saga had lacked its trademark luster of late, the story seemingly over on April 29 when the NBA’s relocation committee gave its unanimous recommendation to block Seattle’s bid to take the team to scorned Sonics country.
But anyone who has paid attention these past 27 months knows there’s always another twist, always another momentum swing that sparks optimism in one camp and decimates the other. So of course hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer increased their already-absurd purchase price by a virtual $75 million on Friday a move that also included a relocation fee of $115 million that is nearly four times the amount paid when the Sonics moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City in 2008. Of course the Maloof family that owns the team lobbed its 11th-hour threat through the media on Saturday, when their nuclear Plan B was first revealed by ESPN.com: if the Board of Governors followed through with its blockade vote in Wednesday’s meeting in Dallas, they would plan on selling 20% of the team the Seattle group and squatting in Sacramento until the NBA finally succumbed.
Yet while Seattle’s latest upping of the ante sparked the latest round of reports, and even prompted a Monday conference call for the finance and relocation committee that should provide the latest pulse on the situation, this wasn’t the latest game-changing moment that some saw it to be. There is a process here that circumvents this circus, a blueprint known as the league’s bylaws that has guided the NBA’s transparent push to keep the team in Sacramento every turn.
The ground rules, as set by commissioner David Stern and soon-to-be commissioner Adam Silver from the beginning: the incumbent city must produce a more-viable ownership group to take over the team and have a plan in place for a new arena. It’s not Seattle v. Sacramento, in other words, but Sacramento v. Sacramento. And as has been documented here before, the incumbent followed the league’s lead at every turn while insisting that the NBA wouldn’t leave a market that had done so much … [For more on Seattle group trying to force sale of Sacramento Kings, click here.]