As a Seattle sports fan I am truly torn between having a new NBA team and what is morally right. I have lived right here in Seattle since I was born 42 years ago. I’ve seen the ups and the downs with all the teams in the area. But the one thing that sticks out is when we lost the Supersonics to Clay Bennett. The pain lasts a long time and grudges are held indefinitely. Seeing a similar situation happening in Sacramento, eats at my very soul. You deserve your team…let the cowbells ring!
With all the rumors flying around about the Hanson group, the Maloofs, the GOP and Mr. Stern, the one thing I would like to say is, ‘Keep up the good fight Sacramento’. Do not let the media hype get to you. You have a strong fighter in Kevin Johnson. His voice will not fall on deaf ears.
Rumors are just that, rumors. Postulating on parts of the deal is every fans right to do. But don’t be swayed by the details. Take a step back and look at the big picture.
The Maloofs continually said the team is not for sale and for the most part I think that was true. Then along comes Chris Hanson, hell-bent on finding a team for Seattle. He has to loosen up the Maloofs from the tight ‘not for sale’ mentality. How does he do this? Offer up $30M to be paid outside of the actual sale. Now the Maloofs entertain Hanson’s offer. This money will be paid on February 1st. All this does for Hanson is guarantee that the Maloofs won’t go out and seek other bidders. Doesn’t mean other bidders can’t bid, just means that if the Maloofs take those other bids the $30M would be forfeit. If the NBA rejects Hanson’s offer or makes him rework it, other bids would have to be taken into consideration at that point and $30M is retained by the Maloofs.
Now take a look at Mr. Stern. He helped work the deal for the new arena there in Sacramento and was pretty angry when the Maloofs backed out. His true motivation at this point is to get them out of Sacramento. With Hanson’s bid, the team is officially up for sale. There is no backing out at this point if another bidder was to match what Hanson put up. Which goes back to the previous paragraph. Were they loosened up by the $30M guaranteed payment? Either way, the Maloofs cannot back out of a deal at this point. This opens the door for Sacramento investors that the Maloofs refused to deal with before. Mr Stern now has to forward the offer to the GOP. The GOP now has to make a decision that I’m sure will be swayed by Stern in whichever direction he wants to take it. Stern’s objective throughout the NBA is to make lots of money for the NBA and it’s owners. The way that happens is through state of the art arenas. With the arena deal sitting there, the Magoofs ready to sell, it provides the ample opportunity for Mr. Stern to sell the team to Sacramento investors and open up an expansion team in Seattle.
So to sum this up the best I can. Lets step back a little bit further, back to Sonicsgate. Mr. Stern really wanted Key Arena gone, as it just wasn’t big enough to accommodate his “plans” of every arena being huge money makers. The sale of the Sonics to Clay Bennett was a way to force another arena to be built. That went no where and off the Sonics went to OKC. Now we have the arena issue that has been plaguing Sacramento for a number of years. Stern wants the old arena out of the picture as it doesn’t fit his ‘model’ any more. The new arena deal is there waiting, the Kings are now up for sale. If Sacramento investors match Hanson’s offer, Mr. Stern has won the war. He gets new arenas in both Sacramento and Seattle by simply opening an expansion team in Seattle. Oh yeah, and the Maloofs are no longer players in the puzzle. They can be minority investors, but have no affect on Mr Stern any longer.
I’m sure this is oversimplifying the entire thing, but I feel strongly this is where it’s all heading in the end. Fret not Sacramento, this is far from over. Just a matter of matching Hanson’s bid and keeping your team for the long haul. The bigger war is being fought by Mr. Stern.
There are always bad seeds and people that just want to stir the pot, but believe me when I say the majority of the fan base in Seattle does not want to see Sacramento lose its team. We want a team, but not at the expense of another city. Stand strong Sacramento, your investors are lining up, the pieces are beginning to fall into place…LET THE COWBELLS RING!
p.s. Don’t obliterate me too badly here…had to type this all out on my phone J