It's been a couple days since the NBA Relocation Committee unanimously rejected the proposed relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle. The 7-0 recommendation likely ended the hopes of Seattle acquiring the Kings franchise, although Chris Hansen vowed not to give up, saying he would explore the "many options" available to him.
Well, it looks like we're starting to see the route Seattle is going to take. According to Reuters, Hansen and the Maloofs may try to convince the NBA Board of Governors to approve the sale of the Kings to Hansen's group anyway.
The idea, this source said, would be for Hansen to persuade NBA owners to support his efforts to buy the team, even if they do not immediately allow him to move it.
Under the NBA's rules, a decision to relocate a team is separate from a decision to sell a team. So under this scenario, the league could support its committee's recommendation against moving the Kings to Seattle, while still supporting the Hansen group's efforts to purchase it.
The league could require Hansen to work in good faith with the city of Sacramento to try to keep the team there, setting a deadline for the construction of a new arena and working to keep attendance high at the games.
But if the arena wasn't built according to the schedule, or if attendance slipped at the games, Hansen could apply again for permission to move the team - and it could be more likely to be granted, this source said.
Thank you Nathan Fillion, I couldn't have put it better myself. I'll try to though.
I'm not sure how well the Hansen-Ballmer group really sees this strategy playing over with the NBA and other owners. Yes, the NBA has been very careful in its statements the last few days that Seattle's group made a very strong offer for the Kings, but they've also made it very clear that they want this franchise in Sacramento long-term.
Chris Hansen is not going to keep this franchise in Sacramento long-term. To try to convince the NBA otherwise as some sort of ruse would be laughable, especially after all that has been said and done. Just the other day (on a website called sonicsarena.com no less) Hansen wrote "...we plan to unequivocally state our case for both relocation and our plan to move forward with the transaction to the league and owners...". (emphasis mine). He also talked about having a better arena deal than Sacramento.
I fail to see how any possible case can be made for a good faith effort by the Hansen group to keep the Kings in Sacramento, something that would require the owners of the Kings to make a substantial investment in. Besides, the NBA made their recommendation for Sacramento in part because we had come up with an arena plan, one that was negotiated with the investor group led by Vivek Ranadivé. Hansen just filed a Master Use Permit for his Arena project yesterday. He's not about to start negotiating a different arena deal in Sacramento, even as a sham deal to claim he tried.
I don't blame Chris Hansen for continuing to fight, as we would be doing the same thing if the vote had not gone our way on Monday. But I can't foresee a scenario where the NBA would 1) go against their relocation committee's recommendation and 2) possibly set themselves for another P.R. and logistical nightmare by approving Hansen's sale.
I do agree with those that think the NBA would like it if Hansen backed out of his offer without a fight because they don't want to vote him down, but I also think the NBA and other owners won't be afraid to block the sale if Hansen continues to insist on seeing this to the end.