KING5's Chris Daniels dropped a bomb late Wednesday, reporting that sources tell him David Stern is indeed facilitating Sacramento's proposal to keep the Kings and build a new downtown arena while NBA owners would rather move the team to Seattle and be done with it.
It's unclear how many owners prefer Seattle. While there is one Stern, there are obviously any number of NBA owners with opinions on this subject, and divisions between them would be easy to imagine. Remember that the Seattle side needs 23 votes (22 votes plus the Maloofs) to get the sale of the team approved.
The key passage for our interests:
Those sources, spanning the league and governments in Sacramento and Seattle, said Stern has been quietly maneuvering behind the scenes to propel a Sacramento counter bid. They said he has been personally seeking investors to join a new Kings ownership group -- even after several NBA team owners last week indicated their willingness to move the franchise to Seattle.
So now we're talking about "several NBA team owners" -- not "owners" as a collective -- and we're talking about a "willingness to move the franchise to Seattle" -- not something with more teeth. This is good news for Sacramento ... coming out of Seattle.
It's not all good news in Daniels' report: he says that the new Sonics arena could be done in September 2015, which seems both unreasonably fast and something Sacramento couldn't promise (no matter the fate of AB 900). And Daniels cites the potential revenue from a Seattle regional sports TV network to be $40 million, which he says is 80 percent more than the TV revenue in Sacramento. That means the estimates on Sacramento TV revenue are $23 million, for a delta of $17 million. Given that local TV revenue isn't shared among teams directly (only through revenue sharing), this is pretty small beans for individual owners. Also, this ignores the concept that if the Kings are kept in Sacramento, the league could still get that Seattle money a different way (expansion or relocation of another team). There are a number of teams making far less than $22 million in local TV dollars.
In review, the reporter who has broken most of the news from the Seattle side just said Stern has been and is helping the Sacramento group despite some owners being willing to move the team to Seattle. This is pretty positive news, all told.