Last week is was reported that a Seattle-based investment group headed by Chris Hansen offered $500 million to take the Sacramento Kings off the hands of the Maloof family and relocate the Kings to Seattle. Before anyone in Seattle could bust out their old Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp jersey’s, the Maloofs rejected the offer on the grounds that the Hansen group wasn’t going to give them the control over the team that they desire.
While this is bad news for Seattle basketball fans, it opens a giant window of opportunity for the forgotten souls of Sacramento who thought they had lost their belovedK Kings last week.
Mayor Kevin Johnson is leading a crusade, and a shape business plan, to keep the Kings in Sacramento. But it’s not an easy task as the Maloofs are proving to be hard people to give $500 million to.
Before we begin, let’s clarify something about the Seattle offer. It was officially $500 million but the Maloofs would have only seen up to $400 million from the sale. That $500 million offer included the $100 million relocation fee required by the NBA, so that served as one problem for the Maloofs.
The other problem centered on how much control the Maloofs would have over the Supersonics should they move back to Seattle. According to reports, the Maloofs wanted to retain a portion of control over the franchise, and as Matt Moore from CBSSports.com points out, they wanted to sell their toy but play still play with it too.
In Chris Hansen’s defense, you don’t just pool together $500 million, give it to struggling millionaire and then go you know what, you guys can keep a large stake in the team you just sold to us for well above face value.
For the record, the standard selling price for an NBA franchise is $300 to $350 million, meaning the Hansen group over paid by around $50 million. I just want to point out that if the Maloof’s don’t want that kind of coin, I’ll gladly accept it.
But while that deal fell through, the city of Sacramento has seen their efforts to keep the Kings revived. Local businessman and owner of the 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov is putting together a group that would match the Seattle offer, less the $100 million relocation fee that was fitting into the original deal.
But once again, the issue is control and the Maloof’s want to be able to still say they own an NBA franchise even if they’ve demonstrated their incompetence. Mayor Johnson has said that if the Maloof’s want control of the team, the group and the city is willing to grant them a small stake.
The knocks against Sacramento seemed to have been thin walls of fallacy built up to justify the Seattle theft of the franchise. It was said that the fan base had checked out, which once news of the Seattle deal broke turned out to be wildly untrue. It was said that the market isn’t sustainable, yet a group of investors and the mayor of the city have a proposal that suggests otherwise. It was said that the Maloof’s wanted to keep a stake in the team and the mayor has put it on record as saying that will happen.
So in a week, the Kings have gone from restoring basketball in Seattle, to being one of the most loved sports teams in California where fans and billionaires are coming out of the woodwork to team up and keep the team where it is.
Seattle has to admire the fact that Sacramento is blocking them from getting a basketball team by properly doing what they failed miserably at attempting. This is what a city that really wants to keep its team looks like and while Seattle got an extremely bum deal when the Sonics
moved were hijacked to Oklahoma City, Sacramento learned from that process and is trying to properly keep their team.
David Stern will hear the Sacramento group’s presentation at the NBA Board of Governors Meeting, restoring some hope that the Kings won’t pack up and leave the city. The deadline for teams to apply for relocation is March 1, 2013.