After an explosion of tweets and a series of conflicting articles citing unnamed sources, we are left without knowing where we really stand here in Sacramento. Sure we have an idea (and it isn't pleasant), but we have very few concrete facts. That being said, a few things are clear in the aftermath of the Maloof's latest daliance:
First and foremost, we are playing from behind... again. After years of saying they would never sell the team, guess what? The Maloof's decided to sell the team. And, after year's of hearing Kevin Johnson say "let us know if you are interested in selling the team," the Maloof's kept Sacramento completely in the dark. They once again went behind everyone's backs and negotiated with an outside city, just like they did in the case of Anaheim, without anyone's knowledge. However, in this case, it makes no sense from a business perspective (which makes me think it's personal).
I can understand why they did what they did with Anaheim. They wanted poor schmucks like you and I to keep buying tickets, and they knew if word got out they were moving to Anaheim, attendance would plummet, so I get why the Maloof's kept the Anaheim deal a secret. However, if you were selling a team or anything of any value (as opposed to simply relocating), wouldn't you tell as many people as you could to drive the price up? But the Maloof's didn't do this. In fact, they did the exact opposite. They secretly began negotiating with the Seattle group weeks ago. And now, depending on who you talk to, the negotiations are so advanced that they are "a done deal" and the parties are going to present the framework of the negotiations to league in March.
As a fan, it bothers me that my team may be sold, but what really galls me is that we as a city may not have a real chance to even line up an owner that would keep the team in Sacramento. To me these actions, speak louder than words. The Maloof's, after years of bitter negotiations and blocked attempts to relocate, sure look like they want to stick it to Sacramento. Rumor has it they won't sell to a local bidder, and while no one can substantiate it, their actions give credence to the whispers.
If I were the NBA (and unfortunately I'm not), I would look long and hard at this deal. If KJ can line up an equal net value offer, I would make the Maloofs sell to the local bidder. I would even go so far as to write it into my bylaws that in the case of a sale, a local bidder will always be awarded the team in the case of equal offers, so markets have a fair shot at retaining the team they have supported with their pocketbooks and their hearts for years.
KJ seems confident and I really hope it is founded. I am guessing that he and his political allies are going to make this as unpleasant as possible in terms of PR and lawsuits, and they are hoping that the NBA decides it is too much to swallow. The whole issue would disappear if they simply allowed a like offer from a hometown bidder to win, and they promised Seattle an expansion team.