Aaron Bruski of Pro Basketball Talk has a new piece on the situation in Seattle, where he reports Steve Ballmer has slowly grasped control of the strategy and messaging around the Chris Hansen-led group's bid to pry the Kings from Sacramento. It's mostly about Ballmer and the future of basketball in Seattle.
When asked how Seattle got to that point, several sources with knowledge of the situation have told PBT that once they recognized the Sacramento bid was likely to meet league requirements, and ultimately secure the Kings, then decision-making for Seattle's strategy and PR effort slowly shifted into Ballmer's hands. That strategy has been at odds with the due process the NBA has been following, and recently it has been at odds with the NBA itself.
"He's on a rampage," said one source. "He assumed he could backdoor Sacramento with a willing partner in the Maloofs, but he underestimated Sacramento and now he thinks he can twist enough arms around the league to force his way into the association."
It does not appear to be working.
I don't particularly care how it affects Seattle; I do wonder, in my nervous way, whether that changes the calculus on potential legal action. All along we've heard that Hansen is not prepared to sue or finance a Maloof suit. The great David Aldridge reaffirmed that on Monday. But if Ballmer is taking the scepter, will he change the group's position on that? Will Ballmer load up those catapults on Wednesday evening, should the Board of Governors reject Seattle as expected?
How ready is Ballmer to go to war vs. waiting again? Bruski isn't the first person to say Ballmer is on a rampage since the relocation committee vote. Again, I don't particularly care if his ploys cost Seattle a team down the line; frankly, I don't think they would, because Seattle's an attractive market and Stern's gone in a few months anyway. But I know that a quiet end to this saga gets the Kings in Sacramentan hands sooner, and gets our arena built sooner, and gets us on the path to the next era of the Kings sooner. The less post-vote drama, the better. That's why I concern myself with Ballmer on a rampage. He won't beat the NBA, but he could at least delay our resolution.
This is not an invitation to get nasty toward Seattle in the comments. I have, frankly, been embarrassed by some of the comments lately. If you're going to be negative toward Seattle specifically, at least be funny. There's been too much unfunny meanness.