On or about May 13, the fate of the bid battle over the Kings franchise will be decided, and either Sacramento or Seattle “is going to be disappointed,” NBA commissioner David Stern told the annual meeting Thursday of the Associated Press Sports Editors in New York.
While the declaration was not new, it was the repetition that made it clearer the NBA isn’t seriously considering expansion as a solution. The date was the most precise the NBA has been about an outcome when the Board of Governors (owners) vote.
The NBA also said a recommendation from the combined finance/relocation committees is expected to be completed Monday and forwarded to all 30 owners for their consideration.
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The May 13 date will give owners two weeks to deliberate on the recommendation, which is more than the minimum seven business days required by league’s by-laws.
The Kings owners, the Maloof family, have agreed to sell their 65 percent share to Seattle native Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for an improved offer of $357 million, on a franchise valuation of $550 million.
Stern three months ago permitted a counter-offer from Sacramento, which is led by Silicon Valley billionaire Vivek Ranadive. The Maloofs complained by letter last week that the Ranadive offer was inadequate. Stern disagreed a week ago, saying that the two bids are “in the same ballpark with respect to the net result to the selling family.”
Wednesday in Sacramento, state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), unveiled a long-awaited proposal to rewrite California’s environmental law. His plan would help speed up construction of a new Kings’ arena at Downtown Plaza (see drawings here).
In Seattle, Ballmer, who has been publicly silent since the announcement of the purchase agreement in January, spoke positively about his bid’s chances before a fundraising luncheon for the A PLUS Youth Program at Zion Preparatory Academy.
“We’ve got our fingers crossed, Chris Hansen’s worked really, really hard, and, I think, really intelligently,” he told KING5. “Seattle’s got a great bid, we’ve got a great arena plan, I think we have the better arena plan.
“We’ve got a good offer, it’s been accepted by current owners, we’ve got a great market, it seems like they’ll never be a better opportunity. But it’ll be up to the NBA owners.”