When it rains, it pours.
Following a quote from Senator Darrell Steinberg that Sacramento has matched Seattle "dollar-for-dollar" (a quote which he then backtracked to "fully competitive"), the Bee's Tony Bizjak reports that the Maloof Family has officially set a deadline for the Sacramento Group to submit a "written, binding, back-up offer" that matches the one the Maloofs made with the Hansen-Ballmer group. That deadline is 5 P.M. by Friday.
If a matching bid is not submitted by then, or if it doesn't match Seattle's offer, according to Ryan Lillis, the Maloofs will not negotiate with the Sacramento group.
Reports differ on how strong Sacramento's current offer is. The Bee repeats reports that Sacramento's initial offer was not close to Seattle's but also that after last Wednesday's meeting, Commissioner David Stern said the discrepancy was "no longer an issue".
The Bee also points out that Sacramento and Seattle's offers are structured differently, likely a reference to Seattle's $30 million non-refundable deposit.
So what can we glean from this latest information? Well for starters, if the Maloofs have given a deadline, it likely means that the Sacramento group knows exactly how much they need to have to match. The Mayor and ownership group, led by Vivek Ranadivé and Mark Mastrov, have repeatedly stated that they are "Playing to Win". There is now a clear, definitive standard and that is to match Seattle's offer.
Who knows what twists and turns lay ahead, but we're nearing the finish line folks.
UPDATE 3:35 P.M.:
Some tweets of note since this news broke.
#nbakings fans should see this as a good thing. First time Maloofs are acknowledging Sac's offer. Matching dollar for dollar...— nickmonacelli (@nickmonacelli) April 10, 2013
Won't be a problem thanks to @vivek. Sources say he'd also cover the $30M if necessary.— nickmonacelli (@nickmonacelli) April 10, 2013
What I'm hearing, Maloofs are looking for a dollar-for-dollar matach, including the $30mill & a binding agreement. Not fool's gold #nbakings— Sean Cunningham (@News10Sean) April 10, 2013
When I asked 2 nights ago, if Maloofs could back out and choose Sac, Maloof source said "To be honest, not really in their hands anymore."— Carmichael Dave (@CarmichaelDave) April 10, 2013
Source tells PBT that Sacto will not lose out on the Kings based on an offer.Maloof talk typical late-stage conniptions— Aaron Bruski (@aaronbruski) April 10, 2013