Kings sale: Is $30 million deposit by Seattle group meant to chill Sacramento efforts?

Chris Hansen put a non-refundable $30 million deposit down on the Sacramento Kings, according to reports. Was that meant to be a chilling factor on further Sacramento efforts to keep the Kings?

Our worst fears have been realized: the Maloof family ignored Sacramento's request to match all offers and sold the Kings to a Seattle group. Not only that, but according to Adrian Wojnarowski Chris Hansen put a $30 million non-refundable deposit on the purchase. That deposit will supposedly come over on February 1. If the deal falls apart after that, Hansen is out $30 million.

On the surface, the point of that deposit -- which is very odd, to say the least -- was to sew up the deal. We're unlikely to ever know if the Maloofs requested it because they can't afford the dry cleaning (can you dry clean graphic tees and polyester suits?) or because they fear the expansion nuclear option or whatever other reason. But there's a sentiment flying around from people who'd know that there was a specific legal purpose for Hansen to offer it.

The reason: to chill efforts in Sacramento and at the league level to block the deal.

By putting together a contract with some real financial skin involved, Hansen set up a situation where any attempts to block the full deal costs Hansen real money. Word is that if Sacramento continues to push for the league to reject the purchase agreement, Hansen could sue (or at least make the threat to sue) the city for interference.

If the city were less invested in the fight, such a threat might give the elected officials and city administrators the willies. But Kevin Johnson and the top city staff aren't giving up. Their efforts aren't likely to be chilled. But the league could be a different story. If Hansen shakes a lawsuit at the league office, might the NBA's lawyers advise that the Board of Governors politely hear out KJ and then approve the Hansen deal and the relocation? I hate to be a downer, but it could happen.

The next issue with Hansen is insuring that if he is successful (Lord forbid), he pays off the existing loan with the city in full instead of defaulting and giving up a $25 million stake in the franchise.

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