Over the last few days, we've seen conflicting reports on whether or not Sacramento has matched Seattle's bid for the Kings or not. CA Senator Darrell Steinberg stated in an interview that Sacramento had matched Seattle "dollar-for-dollar" before backtracking to "fully competitive offer". Seattle's Chris Daniels wrote that Sacramento's bid was still way off, as it was when David Stern said there was a substantial variance. At last night's Kings game, the Mayor seemed to be unworried about the strength of Sacramento's bid, but would not say whether or not Sacramento had matched. He did say that the offer was "better than competitive" and that "Money was not an issue".
Another bit of news that came out yesterday was the introduction of a deadline by the Maloof family for the Sacramento Group to submit a matching offer by 5 P.M. this Friday. The key is that the Maloofs wanted a written and binding agreement in place, or otherwise they would not negotiate with the Sacramento group should the NBA Board of Governors veto the deal the Maloofs have with the Hansen-Ballmer group. When asked about the Maloof deadline yesterday, the Mayor didn't completely shrug it off but merely stated that the Sacramento group would continue to follow the process laid out by the NBA.
So what does this all mean?
Fortunately, we have the great Sam Amick working the story and in his latest piece for USA Today he offers some clarification on these issues.
First, Sam confirmed Chris Daniel's report that NBA Commissioner David Stern is doing everything he can to keep the Kings in Sacramento, although there is no mention of a rift between Stern and other owners like in Daniels piece. Amick notes that despite public talk about Stern merely being an advisor, he still wields a lot of influence and power. He doesn't say it in this piece, but in an interview with News10 last night, Sam talks about Stern's influence with the other NBA owners.
Second, Amick reveals a little bit of why the Maloofs have set a deadline for Sacramento to submit a matching offer:
The root of the Maloofs' angst is the disagreement about where Sacramento's offer stands. The Maloofs continue to privately question whether the Sacramento group is willing to match Seattle's offer and are concerned Hansen might sue them if he not only loses out on the team, but also loses money in the process. But a person with knowledge of the situation said it was made clear to the NBA at an April 3 meeting in New York that the Sacramento side will fully match the offer. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the negotiations.
Amick reports that at last week's NBA Board of Governor's meeting, the Sacramento group came in with an offer for the team that was $30 million less than Seattle's, hoping that the deposit Hansen had given the Maloofs would simply be considered a cost of doing business. The NBA did not approve of that initial strategy, so that is when the Sacramento group indicated to the NBA that they would fully match. This seems to confirm a report earlier today by Daniel Kaplan in which he said that the NBA had asked the Sacramento group to make the Hansen-Ballmer group "whole" should the Seattle bid be struck down by the NBA.
There has also been some talk on the Seattle side of things that should Sacramento match, the Hansen-Ballmer group would simply increase their bid. Amick says the NBA does not want a bidding war and isn't expected to allow such an increase.
There are still unanswered questions in this never ending story, but at least we're getting some answers. The following week is going to be a hell of a ride.