The Sacramento Deadline That Isn’t

 

HANG TIME WEST – In the latest twist that wasn’t, the Sacramento Bee reported Wednesday that the Maloof family, owners of the Kings, has given Sacramento leaders until 5 p.m. Friday to submit a written backup offer to buy the team in the event the NBA turns down Seattle. What the Bee does not report is what happens if mayor Kevin Johnson and potential owners Mark Mastrov, Vivek Ranadive et al miss the deadline.

Nothing.

Love the chess move by the Maloofs, presumably in coordination, or at least in consultation, with the Seattle group. Put another item on Sacramento’s plate to deal with while playing catch up, sometimes awkwardly, in the final days before a possible vote by the Board of Governors. It is also the latest clear sign the Maloofs are digging in and willing to show their teeth. But there’s no there there.

The people of Sacramento have a lot to worry about in keeping the Kings, but this so-called deadline is not one of them. Johnson probably knows it, too.

All the scenario does is underline what was reported here before: The city and the current owners may again have to deal with each other. Anyone who thinks the league can force an immediate sale to a Sacramento group if the Seattle deal is voted down, the popular perception in some circles, is living a lie.

If the Board of Governors denies Seattle – if – the Kings stay in Sacramento, no matter who is owner. The vote on Seattle relocation is essentially a vote on whether the league believes in a future in the California capital. The Maloofs can keep the team, the Maloofs can sell to someone who isn’t plotting a midnight run out of town, but Johnson gets the result he wanted. It might not be with the owners he wants, but Sacramento still has the NBA under that scenario, and that is the bottom-line monster victory.

The deadline itself, though, is a negotiating tactic. If it is missed, it will not signify a permanent end to negotiations. It might not even signify an end for the month if the governors turn down Seattle. (If Seattle is approved, of course, everything else becomes moot.)

It is no shock that the Maloofs are re-asserting control of the ownership situation in the event the team stays. My previous reports stand: If Seattle is voted down, they remain the owners. The league cannot dictate a sale to the group currently in place and waiting for a chance. The Maloofs could easily wait a month or so to see what other billionaire wants to offer up, and then decide on a sale. They could go into next season, as uncomfortable as that would be with 3,000 people in the stands. The latter is unlikely, but far from impossible.

The unavoidable truth is that the Maloofs and Sacramento will still need each if Seattle is denied. If the Maloofs want to get the prorated equivalent of the biggest sale in NBA history for their shares, deadlines have to be dropped or negotations have to be started with new parties. If Sacramento wants someone else to own the team, they have to go through the Maloofs. As always.

It is no coincidence that Johnson has become much more complimentary toward the Maloofs over time. KJ told me he is simply trying to give the family due credit for the many positives they brought to the city, a reminder that was long overdue but unpopular to note in town, but it looks an awful lot like a schmooze job. The Maloofs are emotional, which has been one of their best attributes and also a problem area, and making nice could go a long way.

Johnson had a telling response when asked about the story about the deadline, about why the Maloofs would give such an ultimatum. He could have belittled the strategy or laughed at how little it means, and he might have in the past. This time, the mayor wisely took a pass.

“You would have to ask them,” he said.

It is worth noting some family members have also said nice things about how Johnson has led the comeback. The sides will be able to at least talk if it comes to that, whether about moving forward together or finalizing a sale to new owners. Just as importantly, they will be able to talk even if no offer is submitted by Friday at 5 p.m.

21 Comments

  1. Gary Payton says:

    Sonics are back!

  2. cochran294 says:

    I personally do not like the idea of taking away the Sacramento Kings. They have been a loyal fan base in the NBA for years and I think that it would be a disservice to the fans and the game to take them away. I remember back during the days when guys like Chris Webber and Mike Bibby played on a stacked Kings team. A team that clearly should have won in 2002. As much as I would like to see the Seattle Supersonics return, I would not want it to be at the Kings expense.

    • Gary Payton says:

      Me too! I would prefer a expansion team. There are no good feelings in taking another town’s team

  3. MJfromOKC says:

    Seattle had a team not even a decade ago. They had Kevin Durant, they drafted Russell Westbrook. They would not go watch the games.

    Stern knows this. Hes not stupid and realizes that the same situation could happen all over again with Seattle not supporting a team.

    If you fail to support a franchise like the Sonics, and you sell the team due to your own failed ownership, and the team relocates. That means the Seattle market needs to be put on hold for a whille…

    The Maloofs wanted maximum dollar for their shares. They are exploiting a town and some overly ambitious young investors by dangling a carrot in front of them.

    This is a very dirty deal, which is why I think Stern has mentioned there are some things about the conditions of the sale being unprecidented.

    • Genzero says:

      Well “lookie there”! We have more revisionist history from those always enlightening brain surgeons in Oklahoma. Yes, the same fine folks who schooled Seattleites on how they are all gay liberals who hate God and country (there might be a few but that is another post for another time). Then they corrected those in drizzle town on how OKC was such a great city (I think they lied) and that its people were not bible thumping, conservative, Fox News loving ignorant rednecks. Who woulda thunk it?

      So thank you Oklahoma for helping Seattle understand that these 2 regions that once had little to do with each other really should have NOTHING to do with each other!

    • Gary Payton says:

      Seattle attendance went down because of bad ownership. Then that liar Bennett bought team and things got worse. Do some homework, go back and finish your last three years of high school.

  4. Uhr-Pacers Bad Boys says:

    Is it possible if bog denies sale and maloofs want relocation then sell it in Seattle ? I m just asking myself =]

    • Gary Payton says:

      BOG controls the approval but the Maloofs have some vindictive thing against Sacramento (they could have made it public that the team was for sale, but not something they had to do) which is meesy to say the least They need money bad and if the sale is denied they will have to sell to local ownership or a group that wants to keep the team in Sactown. They made that clear with their deadline announcement but it is hollow, because they can not afford to keep the team. They may have painted themselves in a corner if the BOG denies sale because the NBA really does not want to move the team. Thus forcing the Maloof’s to except any legit offer from buyers the NBA approves of! They could approve sale and deny relocation, but that would not be good business!

  5. Casey says:

    The Maloofs might also be setting the stage for a lawsuit if the Seattle deal is turned down and they can’t find a comparable bid. The current Sacramento proposal, from sale of the team all the way to the arena deal, at the moment has no binding components to it. No one is liable for anything if they simply decide to turn and walk away. Everyone is talking about how the bid for the team is now “equal or comparable” to the Seattle bid, but there is nothing binding, except Seattle’s bid.

    • MBS says:

      To have a lawsuit there would have to be monetary damages. That is one of the reasons why the NBA has asked Sacramento to make whole the $30 million dollar deposit from Seattle. So that, IMO, there cannot be any cause for anti-trust lawsuit.

      Similarly, as long of the Sacramento offer doesn’t cause the Maloofs to lose money they don’t have a case against the NBA. There would be nothing to sue over.

      • Gary Payton says:

        Seattle group can up there offer and probably will do so if need be unless…. As a Sonic fan, it would still be better for all if we got an expansion team even if we had to wait a few years longer! Taking a team from a city because of bad ownership is not good for anyone! I think this is such a drama that the NBA should try to make both cities happy and expansion would do exactly that. Both are great B-ball towns with the right ownership!

  6. Gary Payton says:

    Seattle group has complete package ready to go up for vote and that looks very good to owners. Although, moving a team looks very bad. They could approve sale and deny relocation? Strange position for both cities and could go either way, 50/50?

    • MBS says:

      There is concerning news coming out about the Seattle deal. It is reportedly highly leveraged. The NBA has had a problem with ownership groups that carry high amounts of debt. The most leveraged teams are also those that pay the lowest salary and put the worst teams on the floor.

      The Sacramento offer and purchase has proposed a sale that is far less leveraged and has more equity invested. Clearly, more capitalized owners are preferred and it seems that Sacramento has an edge with that.

      Take that with the fact that stories are coming out that Stern is supporting the Sacramento purchase. Things are not looking good for Seattle right now…

      • Gary Payton says:

        Seattle group has far more money than Sacramento group and they have already been checked by the NBA. That is why they are going to vote next week. No offer from the ever changing group in Sactown yet! They do not have purchase agreement with the Maloof family and a shaky stadium deal that the city of Sacramento may not be able to afford. Realistically it could take four years to build one there and the group is trying to play catch up, but that does not mean a city should lose their team.

    • CreacK says:

      I dont think thats an option. Neither side has arena plans with the other city plus hansons group would just apply for relocation each year

  7. Gary Payton says:

    It still seems to little to late? Why has there been no formal offer, as Stern stated vaguely about upping their offer? The NBA would need to check the proposed groups offer, and financials of investors. Also, the uncertainty of the stadium plan and with the city being able to afford that amount money (general fund could take a hit)? All of this takes time and there are four working days left……..

    • MBS says:

      Sacramento already had an approved arena deal in place and now has a second one. The deal doesn’t affect their general fund and as proposed will be less leveraged than the Seattle arena. Altogether, Sacramento has done EVERYTHING and more asked of them by the NBA. The NBA isn’t in the habit of walking away from publicly funded arenas.

      • richard says:

        Sacramento has not. It still needs to have a public vote in Sacramento. The city is broke. I really doubt the voters of Sacramento would approve any money going towards the Kings.

  8. asdasd says:

    leave the damn kings in sac town and stop kidding with people feelings for god sake

    • swyrlpr says:

      I’m sorry but if you live in Seattle, the NBA has been playing with your emotions for 6 years now.

      How much longer do you think we should just stand for it?