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Maloofs' payout from Sacramento deal was only $5 million less than it would have been from Seattle

There was a clause in the Maloofs' deal with Chris Hansen that made the two payouts to the family similar.

Jared Wickerham

There are a LOT of interesting tidbits in The Bee's next-day story. I encourage you to read it all. One I found particularly interesting as we post-mortem this thing.

The sweetened offer leaves the Sacramento purchase, on its face, $59 million short of Seattle's. But the true gap between Seattle's bid, and what the Maloofs will take away from selling to [Vivek] Ranadive, is just a few million dollars.

Why? If the Seattle deal had been approved, the Maloofs would have put $25 million of their payout toward the relocation fee owed to the NBA, the source said. In addition, although the Seattle deal is dead, the Maloofs get to keep the $30 million nonrefundable deposit Hansen and Microsoft CEO Ballmer gave them in early February.

That shaves the effective difference to about $5 million.

So Vivek quickly agreed to up the valuation to $535 million, resulting in an extra $6.5 million to the Maloofs. That's the valuation that gets them $59 million away from what the Maloofs would have taken home on close of escrow if Seattle had been approved. But Hansen had already given $30 million and wasn't getting it back. And Hansen wanted $25 million from the Maloofs for relocation. So when the Maloofs agreed quickly to take Vivek's deal, they were only really giving up on the last $4 million in the gap.

And one more time: Chris Hansen was a freaking brilliant spinmaster. A big deal was made of the $115 million relocation fee offer and the $625 million valuation. But $25 million of that was hocus pocus money: cash he'd pay the Maloofs for the team that'd be transferred to the relocation fee. Really brilliant accounting. So we can either drop the actual valuation by $38 million (since the $25 million to the Maloofs is in payout, not valuation) to $587 million or drop the relocation fee to $90 million.

And that $30 million that had already been paid out: if we would have considered that a sunk cost, that drops the valuation by $46 million. So let's call this a $541 million valuation and $115 million relocation fee. Somewhat less impressive than what Hansen trotted out.

Still impressive. But man, I really enjoy his math. No sarcasm: brilliant ploys all around.