The rollercoaster of emotions and conflicting news reports continues.
Today's latest report from David Aldridge of NBA.com is that the Maloofs are indeed planning to sell the team to the Hansen-Ballmer group, for somewhere between the $500 and $525 million that has been indicated in other reports. Aldridge reports that the family came to the "wrenching" decision to sell the team over a month ago.
Further, Aldridge says that the Maloofs are not interested in selling to anyone in Sacramento. They still feel animosity towards Ron Burkle for his public declarations that the wanted to buy the team back in 2011 that helped stop their attempted move to Anaheim. They don't have such a grudge against Mark Mastrov, but feel he can't get close to the amount of money Hansen-Ballmer can, which is probably true.
From the Seattle side of things, Aldridge says that Hansen wanted to wait until the Seattle Seahawks were out of the NFL playoffs before making his intention to buy the Kings public, so as not to upstage friend Paul Allen (owner of the Seahawks and the Portland Trailblazers). If true, that means we could be hearing more than "no comment" out of Seattle soon, as the Seahawks were eliminated this past weekend.
The Maloofs have also come to the understanding that they will have no control of the franchise if they do sell, which Aldridge calls a "dealbreaker" for Hansen's group. He also writes that the Maloofs looked at other options before coming to the decision to sell including Virginia Beach, Louisville and Las Vegas.
One area where I feel Aldridge misrepresents the situation is talk of a potential arena in the Downtown Plaza, reported by the Bee this past weekend. I still think the Mayor's office and the city will look to get any potential new owner to agree to the arena plan that the Maloofs backed out on back in April. That deal was agreed to by both the city, AEG and the NBA. The only thing that was missing was the owners. This is the arena plan that I think will be presented to the NBA when the time comes, not the Downtown Plaza one, for which we don't really have any details.
Aldridge also notes some other factors on the NBA's side of things that might deter them from wanting to keep the team in Sacramento. The revenue sharing program kicks into full gear next year, and a team in Seattle would likely not need as much revenue sharing, and in fact might end up being a payer into the program. The NBA also has a television contract with ABC and TNT expiring soon, and Aldridge says a new deal would be more valuable with a Seattle franchise than a Sacramento franchise. Personally, I don't feel the bump up, if any, would be big enough to make a huge impact, especially considering that the NBA is the only show in town here, the 20th largest television market in the United States (Seattle is 12th).
The article goes on to say that there are still bumps in the road for Seattle, particularly the fact that they haven't had an Environmental Impact study done yet on their proposed arena location, and also the fact that they're dealing with the Maloofs.
Things look bleak, of course. Seattle has and always will be the greatest threat. But even if the Maloofs have agreed to a deal with Hansen-Ballmer, I can't believe that the NBA will simply sit idly by and watch as Sacramento, which has done everything and more to keep this team here, which has come up with an arena deal, which has a local politician that is one of the NBA's own, and which has local investors lining up, loses their team.
Sacramento will not give up.
Sacramento CANNOT give up.
Seattle will in all likelihood get an NBA team in the near future, whether through buying a team or through expansion. But Sacramento has a team now and we want to keep it that way. If we lose this team, it will be much, much harder for Sacramento to get one back than it will be for Seattle.
So do the right thing NBA. Do the right thing Maloofs. Keep professional basketball in Sacramento.
You can go to HereWeBuy.org and pledge to buy season tickets in a new arena under new ownership in Sacramento.
You can also sign our petition to the NBA to grant Seattle an expansion franchise and allow Sacramento to match Seattle's offer.