Sam Amick of USA Today is reporting that Sacramento will not match Chris Hansen's bid on minority owner Bob Cook's 7% stake in the Kings, contrary to previous plans. Minority owner David Lucchetti was expected to file notice of intent to match that bid by midnight Friday, but Lucchetti, Mayor Kevin Johnson and crew have determined that it is no longer a priority.
The key to this component of the deal, and so many others in this saga, is that this potential transaction will still require the approval of the NBA. As a result, the Sacramento side -- which is being headed by mayor and former NBA point guard Kevin Johnson -- is making this strategic choice based on the common sense assumption that the league would not approve the minority stake if they reward Sacramento with the majority share.
This strategy may cause some concern, but the logic is sound. If the Board of Governors approves the sale to Seattle, they will presumably approve the sale of the minority shares to Hansen as well. If the BOG rejects Seattle, they would reject the sale of the minority shares as well.
This does, however, indicate a shift in tactics regarding rights of refusal. The Maloofs have long contended, never directly but this is gathered via various reports, that their sale to Seattle would be a transfer that would not be subject to rights of refusal. Sacramento proponents have argued that the sale would be subject. Ultimately, the determination of such a right would be based on specific language in the partnership agreement, and would likely need to be settled by a judge.
The shift away from the minority share indicates that KJ and crew either believe that they would be unlikely to win rights of refusal if challenged in court, or that they believe that tactic will no longer be necessary. My money is on the latter, but this is all speculation.
All of this ultimately just goes to show that we've got a long final week ahead of us as this saga comes to its end. Stay tuned, and we'll do our best to keep you updated.
To calm any concerns this may raise, even the Seattle side is acknowledging this as a non-issue.
I've also heard, no matter the outcome of the 7%, it's not a defining issue in this whole #NBAKings saga.— Chris Daniels (@ChrisDaniels5) April 12, 2013