BY Art Thiel 10:38PM 04/29/2013

Hansen fires back at NBA, says he has ‘options’

Rejected by the NBA’s relocation committee earlier Monday, Chris Hansen fired back Monday night on his website, sonicsarena.com, saying he will see through his purchase of the Sacramento Kings, and has numerous options.

“While we are disappointed with the relocation committee’s recommendation, we just wanted to let you all know that we remain fully committed to seeing this transaction through,” he wrote.

“As you are all well aware, we have a binding transaction to purchase the Kings for what would be a record price for an NBA franchise, have one of the best ownership groups ever assembled to purchase a professional sports team in the U.S., have clearly demonstrated that we have a much more solid arena plan, have offered a much higher price than the yet to be finalized Sacramento group, and have placed all of the funds to close the transaction into escrow.

“As such, we plan to unequivocally state our case for both relocation and our plan to move forward with the transaction to the league and owners at the upcoming Board of Governors meeting in mid-May.”

Hansen did not specify his options. It has been speculated that a denial of relocation could be grounds for a claim of tortious interference with the transaction between Hansen and the owners of the Kings, the Maloof family. But litigation against the league is considered by some legal experts a risky maneuver to get in the door.

The NBA has a rule against team owners suing the league or one another, but that can’t apply to an outside party such as Hansen. He has made an offer based on a valuation of $550 million, providing the Maloofs $357 million for their 65 percent share.

“When we started this process everyone thought it was impossible,” Hansen continued on his site. “While this represents yet another obstacle to achieving our goal, I just wanted to reassure all of you that we have numerous options at our disposal and have absolutely no plans to give up. Impossible is nothing but a state of mind.”

Hansen closed by offering a quote from Muhammad Ali:

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”


YourThoughts

  • WestCoastBias79

    I’ve been of the mind that the fact that the Hansen/Ballmer/Nordies have played by the rules would have this decided in Seattle’s favor without the Bennett stank. Now that it’s apparent that the NBA does not operate logically, but with the petulence of a pissed off three year old, screw it, to the mattresses, Clay Bennett them. Force the NBA’s hand and make them reject the bid the buy the team. When they don’t, pull a Donald Sterling, move them and dare the NBA to sue (then be a much better owner than Donald Sterling). Hell, give the Maloofs a sweetheart deal at KeyArena and let them just move the team. BURN THE NBA DOWN!!! I’ll take a deep breath now.

    • no fool

      westcoast…vaporize…..vaporize………..

    • art thiel

      Serious passion there, West, especially after accusing the NBA of not operating logically. Nevertheless, I respect the rage. I think Ballmer wants them to tell him no to his face, and I would pay large coin to be in attendance for that. But as I wrote, Stern/Bennett/owners don’t want the stink on them from a Kings relocation that they had in Seattle. Which is why they may be slightly more open to expansion that their rhetoric has allowed so far.

    • http://www.facebook.com/herb.huseland Herb Huseland

      Ironically, one of the members of the relocation committee is Clay Bennett, who robbed us of the Sonics. That he could be against relocation is hilarious.

  • no fool

    Well it may turn out better for all you seattle hoop freaks…. Hansen buys the team and RUNS THEM INTO THE GROUND thus alienating the Kings fans… Trade all the good players(Do they have any????) and aquire draft picks for FUTURE YEARS…. Then start the move to Seattle as an OWNER in the EXTOTION CLUB (NBA)….

  • no fool

    EXTORTION CLUB(NBA)….sorry

  • Matt712

    No matter how this whole thing turns out, it is unfolding as both epic and landmark in modern sport. Art has reiterated the term “unprecedented.” What I find (almost) unprecedented (e.g., Jackie Robinson, free agency, collective bargaining) is the “‘macro’cosm” of a game being played out for the ages. Seattle may not have seen an NBA game here in some time, but thanks to Hansen et al, this one game may be big enough to have filled the void.

    What I love about Hansen’s comments is the implication that so far he has played nice. I know hedge fund guys and even a couple CEOs. You think they’re always so nice? Ya think this story has been good so far? Oh boy.

    • art thiel

      True dat, Matt. This is a remarkable game of power being played out here, bigger than a mere basketball team, and we know about two percent of it. The whole story, if ever disclosed, will be a rough, modern equivalent to Gatsby.

  • jafabian

    I interpret “options” as “legal options.” It worked in getting the Mariners here when the Pilots left. Don’t like Sterno saying on NBA TV that if expansion is going to be an option that it will have to be one after he leaves office. Sterno gave Sacramento second chance after second chance. He orchestrated them in fact. He offered options and alternatives for them but doesn’t when it comes time to look at Hansen’s group. Clearly the NBA under Sterno has no interest in the Seattle market. Everything that’s happened has been a contradiction of the NBA business model but then, their business model is continuously in the red.

    Ballmer has some of the best attorneys around at his disposal. You can bet he, Chris Hansen and the Nordstrom’s are prepared for this.

    • Michael Kaiser

      If they were prepared, they would not have played the fools. And Stern was willing to do many things to try and keep the Sonics in Seattle, including trucking down to Olympia. And as for Balmer and company suing, if they are stupid enough to do it, not only kiss off an expansion franchise but also watch the suit got thrown back in their face. Among other things, there is very little substantively in common with the unbelievably rare Pilots/Mariners lawsuit-scenario. And Seattle can find all the big-time Seattle attorneys it wants–actually arguably there really are none in the big picture–and it will not make a bit of difference. Arrogant Balmer and Slimy Hansen against the NBA. It will be laughable. And the Nordstroms will not be party to any substantive legal actions.

      • Todd

        Stern went down to Olympia with Bennett knowing Chopp would say no. Pointless meeting. So you assume Ballmer has no “big time” attorneys? Lol… Microsoft is a little bigger than the NBA. Wiki it.

        • Michael Kaiser

          So let us watch Balmer and company embarrass themselves further if they actually try and throw around their “might.” I am looking forward to it. And Microsoft has been on a substantial downward trend ever sense Balmer was left to run the ship. Bigger than the NBA? They are apples and oranges, except that Microsoft is yesterday’s news, and also struggling for any kind of relevancy these days, excepting some child’s game they put out. The NBA also is more interested in what the Kings prospective owners bring to the table than what yesterday’s news can do for the NBA.

          • Todd

            Hahaha.. You are trying to imply the NBA is comparable to Microsoft as a business? Did I read that right?

          • Leon Russell

            Microsoft is not trying to buy the Kings.

          • Todd

            I’m referring to Ballmer and his experience with a fortune 500 company vs Stern as the commissioner of the NBA. 2 different models and one is much more successful than the other.

          • art thiel

            This has little to do with Microsoft. It’s Ballmer’s personal wealth. Yes there’s connection, but it’s not fundamental to the dispute

          • Todd

            I am pointing more to the way David Stern represents the NBA. To me he sounds like a dictator and smug when challenged. To me that is not professional. He likes to do his dirty laundry out in public and lob things over the fence via the media. Very defense lawyer type tactics in my opinion.

          • art thiel

            Yes, he is a smug dictator, as are many successful commissioners. And he is a lawyer. But a 70-year-old imminent retiree is not going to evolve. He runs a monopoly operation and he doesn’t have to do anything the owners don’t want him to do.

            The NBA’s new bargaining agreement will be a success.

            And we forget a lot of things in Seattle. Like the impact of I-91 on relations with the NBA.

          • Todd

            I meant he never evolved in the past tense. I look at Stern as out the door. I’m looking back in retrospect of his tenure as NBA commissioner. Of course he won’t evolve at this age…lol

          • Todd

            I-91 can be satisfied as the Hansen group has shown. I believe the verbiage says the rate of return on the loan must match or better the treasury note? That should not be a stoppage to the NBA not approving this group as that part has been satisfied. IMO the NBA doesn’t want Seattle to be a model since they LOVE the public money and subsidies. They don’t want the sheep (NBA fans) copying what Seattle did and vote in similar laws in their cities. It’s much easier and faster to fund a large stadium, arena, etc project with public funds than to find solid investors to cover the majority of the build out.

        • art thiel

          Legal solution not recommended. It will entrench NBA, a monopoly operator. Any good lawyer in Seattle will tell Ballmer so. I’m happy to tell him for free.

          • Todd

            Very good point Art and you are right. Let the NBA undress themselves.

      • art thiel

        As I wrote to jafabian, the legal option is going nuclear.

        As far as Stern and his view of Seattle, please remember I-91 in 11/06. Stern does: 74-26 to tell the NBA to drop dead. Can’t unring that bell in his head.

        • Jared S.

          Why didn’t it bother him when Sacramento voted down an arena proposal 80% to 20% in Nov. 2006?

          I don’t like I-91, but it was symptomatic of a backlash in response to the previous stadium deals, as well as the Sonics asking for a new arena just ten years after their last one. It seems like Stern didn’t make an effort to understand the stadium fatigue here, rather than choosing to be offended by it.

          • art thiel

            I am sympathetic with the intent of I-91, but it doesn’t matter what I think, it only matters what a pro sports tenant thinks. And Stern isn’t obligated to think about context and history. What he knows is that Seattle is the only metro market in the country with such a law.

            In the business world, that’s call a hostile business envirionment.

        • PokeyPuffy

          good overall discussion , agree its nuclear to go after the deal in the legal realm, but it sure would be fun to see what’s behind the curtain (to expand on Todd’s metaphor) of the NBA, in Stern’s last year no less. 2013 is supposed to be his victory lap.

    • art thiel

      If expansion is an option, it will be next year, when it’s Silver’s league. Stern is done Feb. 1, but if owners want to consider it for 2014-15, I believe the call to begin that process will belong to Silver.

      A legal fight is the equivalent of going nuclear. Must be avoided.

      • Matt

        Yes and no. The THREAT of a legal fight has power. The league does not want that. Nor does the league want a second sales vote (which could potentially raise more legal issues, depending on the exact nature of the ultimate Sacramento offer). In the end, I agree that Hansen loses the legal battle, but it would be messy and potentially harmful to the NBA. By considering “all their options”, Hansen and Ballmer are making it known that unless they get satisfaction they can make life uncomfortable. You can think you will win a war, but that doesn’t mean you want to fight the battles. Expansion is the ONLY way out of such a fight.

  • Michael Kaiser

    Wow. Can anyone detach enough to see what is going on? Many people thought it was slimy enough for “victim” Seattle to turn around and, essentially, try to do to Sacramento what many saw as simply a variation of what was done to Seattle. But that was nothing compared to the latest behavior. Now Balmer, Hansen, et. all. want to literally try and rip this team away from not only Sacramento but also the NBA. Balmer and Hansen are not white knights. They are just ugly predators. Give me a hundred Clay Bennetts.

    • art thiel

      I’ve written several times that pulling a team out of another market is the most difficult and ugly aspect of Hansen’s project. And so far, they haven’t thrown down legal threats. Readers are making presumptions, which I understand, but Ballmer/Hansen, after calming down, will not be stupid.

      • http://www.facebook.com/herb.huseland Herb Huseland

        My background is in Real Estate. What I see here is an offer made, that offer accepted and the required earnest money not only deposited, but the entire purchase price. placed into escrow. For either Maloofs or the league to unwind a perfectly legal purchase could get very interesting.

        • Todd

          I’m a mortgage loan officer myself. I understand the BOG makes the ultimate decision but there were no other offers when the Seattle group signed the PSA with the current owners. KJ and his last minute whale pod were reactive to the situation and there was no back up offer made. So this goes back to the 30M non refundable deposit. Don’t think for a second that contract wasn’t written up without protection of that deposit. Now the Maloofs could unwind that deposit but why? It’s a chess piece to finish the sale and they want to sell to the Seattle group because they are 100% legit with $ in escrow. The net worth of these Sac investors is not clear cut. How much is liquid that can be deposited into escrow? Yes they would have the $ as a group but if even 1 drops out do the other pick up the slack when this is a terrible business investment? Sac is a economic nightmare like most US cities. Seattle is one of the few cities with a strong micro economy that almost guarantees to not take from the profit sharing pool.

          • http://www.facebook.com/herb.huseland Herb Huseland

            I’m a retired loan oficer. You just proved there at least two mortgage pros that know what they are talking about. (I retired before the industry started smoking weed)

          • Todd

            touche

          • art thiel

            It is possible that Sac will drop the ball. That’s why the NBA took only the relocation vote, not the sale-approval vote. the league has an out (Seattle) if Sac fumbles it away. No one is questioning the legitimacy of the Seattle offer or the PSA. But the NBA has a workaround with the relocation denial. Could the workaround be considered interference in a sale?

            That’s where the lawyers come in.

          • Todd

            Exactly Art, spot on. Obviously we are not lawyers here (speaking for myself). But anybody that has followed this and looks at the dynamics of the business deal ONLY can smell something fishy on the NBA’s end. Now I admit Hansen and company are forcing this but they have the resources to do so and they are doing it with transparency and class for the most part. You would assume the other owners in the NBA would fall all over themselves wanting to have this group in their partnership? True business leadership in tough economic times. But this is basically being veto’d by Stern because of personal reasons and probably the I-91 issue IMO. What are your thoughts? I bet Clay Bennett wants the relocation to Seattle to put the Sonics relocation scandal further in the rear view mirror, faster? But he has to listen to old man Stern cause the ruthless mob boss gets what he wants. It’s not about money and the overall fitness of the NBA with Stern anymore, it’s personal.

        • art thiel

          The NBA is a franchisor, the clubs franchisees. They are subject to bylaws about relocation (do you ever see McDonald’s stores across the street from one another?). Forget the real estate analogy.

    • KtownMatt

      No they just want to purchase the team they were promised. The fact that Stern has given Sacramento loans, extensions on time tables etc.. but with Seattle he barely batted an eye. Our team was taken and set precedence that the NBA is ok with that. Personally I want expansion, but if the NBA is putting a stake in to say the only way you get a team is buy moving them, than so be it.

  • Michael Kaiser

    Hansen says, “As you are all well aware . . . we . . . have one of the best ownership groups ever assembled to purchase a professional sports team in the U.S.” Oh, Lord, the hubris. God it is hard to live this bunch. Among other things, they have quite the high impression of themselves, eh? And it was hubris that brought them down to begin with.

    Hansen also says he has a “binding contract.” Who is advising him? First semester contract students? Certainly he is aware that the NBA’s authority supersedes. Why does Hansen think the NBA has a relocation committee? So teams and owners can do whatever they want and sell to whomever? I do not think so.

    • Todd

      He’s implying that they have a binding contract with the current owner. Which means the Maloofs prefer to sell to the Seattle group. That’s all it means dumbass. Everything this Seattle group has done and will do is very calculative. Things beyond you.

      • NixBeeman

        Uh, has it even occurred to anyone that a standard purchase agreement for an NBA franchise is going to cover the seller — and the league’s — arse by making it clear it’s contingent on NBA BOG approval?

        • Todd

          That’s not the point. I understand and most Seattle people digest that the BOG supercedes any PSA signed by a seller and buyer. But here’s the poison pill, the $30M non refundable deposit. Stern already addressed that it must be covered by the Sac group and not the NBA if they execute a PSA with the Maloofs. See you Sac fans get caught up in the BS the media feeds us but don’t read or listen to the fine print. So Hansen increased the bid +25M and the Sac group must make the 30M non refundable deposit whole back. Now that 30M is NOT part of the valuation, it’s a useless fine basically. So now the Sac group is on the hook for 580M now. This is already grossly over priced for a flaliling NBA franchise and the Sac investors are going to getting all kinds of red flags from the financial advisors to not do this. Not even mentioning the arena plan which is pie in the sky at best which means the new owners will have to cover that too. Be careful what you wish for is really the underlying theme and they may not be able to put the financing together.

          • Michael Kaiser

            You have no idea what you are talking about. Sacramento is not going to match the losers’ $30 million. Do you understand what “non-refundable” and “DEPOSIT” mean? It means if you get left with egg on your face, your just another loser, not someone some other side has to bail out.

          • Effzee

            *cough* 28-54 *cough, cough*

          • Todd

            David Stern already addressed this 30M issue at a press conference. He said the Sac group has to pay it because the NBA won’t. The NBA is open to direct litigation if they do not pay back the 30M non refundable deposit. If that wasn’t an issue then Stern would of never voluntarily brought it up. Do your homework Jed, there is much more to this than you can imagine.

          • Leon Russell

            But, then the NBA recommended the sale to Hansen be rejected. So, they don’t seem too worried about that $30 million, do they?

          • Todd

            The Sac group is having a hard time coming up with funds, it’s obvious. So the 30M + 25M increase does mean something. Strategy. Why don’t you put some $ up? They could use the help.

    • Joe Fan

      Kaiser, you are ignorant. Go thump your chest on the Sacramento Bee web site.

  • Michael Kaiser

    Balmer and Hansen tried to make an end-run and it got slammed back in their face. The only thing worse than trying to pull a fast one is when you try to pull a fast one and are unsuccessfully. Then you also have everyone laughing at you and the party you targeted is now in an even stronger position than if you had never tried to pull a fast one to begin with. Furthermore, you are weakened.

    • Todd

      Lol…but what if the fast one turns into a medium speed one but still works? Chew on that.

      • Michael Kaiser

        Would have, should have, could have . . . . The reality is that Hooterville lost. That is what happens to the Hooterville’s of the world. Always.

        • Todd

          It’s not over kid, trust me.

          • Leon Russell

            From you comments on this post, I can’t imagine why anyone would trust you.

          • Todd

            But we should trust you?

          • Leon Russell

            Did I say “trust me”?

          • Todd

            You say ” I can’t imagine why anyone would trust you.” Since you have inside knowledge about my character then please explain.

    • art thiel

      There was no end-run. They were straightforward. They just underestimated the willingness of the NBA to prevent another Seattle.

      • Lincoln

        Signing a contract with the Maloofs without the NBA’s approval is tantamount to an “end-run.”
        Don’t discount how much Stern, and possibly some NBA owners, are upset with how Hansen/Ballmer and the Maloofs are trying to shove this sale down their throats. People, especially powerful people, don’t appreciate others trying to force their hand. The NBA reserves the right to choose who can be owners and where teams will play. You think Stern and the owners like having the losers Maloof and a hedge fund manager trying to tell them what is going to happen?

        • Todd

          But remember the Maloofs don’t have to sell to this Sacramento group either. They have already hinted they are going to offer a lower amount.

          • Leon Russell

            So, what? So, the Maloofs can keep the team and continue to play in an old arena and lose money every year (the new arena in Sac is contingent on the Maloofs selling the team, I assume). Or, they can sell to the Sacramento investors. You assuming the Maloofs would cut off their nose to spite their face? They claim to be losing money by the bucketfuls in the current arrangement.
            In either case, the NBA would have asserted its authority to approve or disapprove the sale and moving of teams, which I believe is part of the reason why they recommended rejecting the move to Seattle — the NBA doesn’t want it to look like some small-time hedge fund manager and the Maloofs dictated to the NBA what was going to happen with the Kings. I think Hansen and the Maloofs have played this very poorly, by publicly acting like they were the ones who were going to make this decision, instead of the NBA. Of course, if the Kings wind up in Seattle and owned by Hansen/Ballmer, then they played it well. As of today, it does not look so good.

          • Jacob Anderson

            If you want the Kings to stay that badly, then you better figure out a way to “eliminate” the Maloofs! As long as the Maloofs HATE Sacramento, they will continue to screw them over. Oh, the Maloofs have also finally figured out how to pull off Donald Sterling’s “put a lousy team on the court almost every season, and still make a profit anyway” trick! So you can forget about the Maloofs going “broke”.
            I want the Kings to stay in Sacramento, but even I know that Sacramento is in a horrible lose-lose situation.

          • Leon Russell

            The Maloofs are already pretty “broke”, which is why they are selling the Kings in the first place. Don’t expect the Maloofs to keep the Kings. Their self-interest will trump any desire they may have to screw over Sacramento. Don’t the Maloofs owe the city of Sacramento something like $70 million? I believe the Maloofs really need cash, and they need it soon. Neither Sacramento nor the NBA seems too worried that the Maloofs will refuse to sell. Remember, before the Maloofs announced they had an agreement to sell to Hansen, both Sacramento and the NBA seemed content to just leave things as they were with the Maloofs owing the Kings in Sacramento.

          • art thiel

            They don’t have to sell, but they need the money, and the town and the NBA want them to go. They will threaten to stay, but only as leverage.

        • art thiel

          What do you think Clay Bennett did in Seattle? Same deal. The team was sold in secret. That’s how most sales are done. And Bennett was approved.

          You’re right, the NBA doesn’t like the Maloofs, but the owners want every owner who leaves to get max value, because it helps them get same when they leave.

          • Todd

            ^Exactly. So why would the NBA assume the Maloofs would take less $ from the Sac group because the told them to? Is it punishment? The first 100M goes back to the NBA for loans so the Maloofs want to maximize the sales price. Can you blame em?

  • Todd

    It will be funny when the Sac group can’t come up with the funds for the required deposit. Cross your fingers Sac cause this is far from over. Stern is lame duck and the other owners don’t exactly like suppporting the Sac franchise in the profit sharing model.

    • jafabian

      You’d think the Lakers, who are on the Relocation Committee, would want the Kings out of CA so as to increase their visibility in the CA market. CA has the Clippers, Warriors, Lakers and Kings. The NBA has no presence in Washington which is one of the larger media markets in the US. It makes better business sense to approve the move. Since the NBA blocking the move, if that ends up happening, would be unprecedented there’s grounds for a lawsuit. Does the NBA want that to happen?

      • Todd

        Something is very fishy about the Ranadive guy who is a Warriors minority owner. The closest market to Sac. So he wants to be the lead investor in the franchise that can directly take away from the Bay market? Why would the Warrior’s fellow owners approve this as he’s still sitting on the board? It doesn’t make sense. Not even mentioning Clay Bennett leading the relocation committee who makes recommendations. In most business dealings Bennett would have to step out of this due to conflict of interest.

        • art thiel

          There is almost no connection between the Bay Area and Sacto markets. Worlds apart. It may be 80 miles, but if you’ve ever been on I-80, it’s hours.

          The NBA prefers ownerships who’ve been minority partners with other franchises, as Clay Bennett was with Spurs, as Maloofs were with their father’s Rockets.

          As far as Bennett, he doesn’t want to foist on any market what he went through in Seattle. He’s no worse a bad guy for this than he was in ’08.

          • Todd

            I know the drive on I-80 to SF from Sac. I also know a lot of Sac people are 49ers and Giants fans and a few A’s fans. So why is the NBA any different?

          • art thiel

            Ask anyone who lives there. They are different markets.

            Obviously there are fans of some SF teams in Sac, but few Warriors fans in a town owned by the Kings. And hoops is what we’re talking about here.

          • Todd

            Art, the point is that if the Kings left there will be a lot of Warrior conversions IMO. Main reason why is the Warriors are pretty good right now and they are actually my team of choice and not the Blazers. They’re young and talented and geographically the next closest NBA team beyond Portland. Of course this is both of our opinions but I don’t think NBA fans will stop watching pro basketball all together. We know that first hand.

      • art thiel

        The Lakers have no problem with visibility anywhere in the world. They didn’t want the Kings in Orange County two years ago, and got their wish. It makes sense to be in Seattle sometime, but they truly don’t want to jerk a team out of market that’s been loyal, ESPECIALLY after what happened in Seattle. That was my point in the column: They don’t want to make the same mistake. I hope the Seattle fan base gets that key point.

    • art thiel

      The money is there; the group coherence is not, from what I hear from Sactown reporters. Owners won’t back away from the relocation rejection, but they could design an expansion that works for Hansen and NBA.

      • Todd

        No doubt the money is there within their group but DO THEY WANT TO PART WITH IT and fulfill KJ’s dream? This is more about KJ than the city of Sac.

        • art thiel

          You dont know how neurotic Sac is about its place on the California food chain.

          • Todd

            Yes you are right. Always the underdog and KJ loves carrying that flag.

  • maqman

    Great Ali quote.

    • art thiel

      “Wanna lose your money? Bet on Sonny!” Ali

      • Leon Russell

        “Wait ’til I get his little peanut head in my sights!” Ali before the Larry Holmes fight.

    • Long Emergency

      Imagine if that kind of passion could be turned to something of consequence…

  • Vacaville Vinnie

    Anyone found my Kaiser troll doll? I think I left it on this site somewhere by accident. Sorry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/herb.huseland Herb Huseland

    Remember what happened when the Seattte Pilots were moved? Seattle sued and ended jp with the Mariners. If this attempt fails, perhaps they could buy out the 85 year old owner of the Mariners and take them to a higher level.

    • art thiel

      That was a rare win by a city over a monopoly mostly because the American League broke most of its own rules in moving the team after one season.

      That’s not happening here.

  • jafabian

    Stern said on NBA TV that if expansion is an option it will be under Silver’s watch and not his which I find interesting because if you read the 10/26/12 entry on CBS Sports blog Stern says that he is ‘determined to return the NBA to Seattle before his retirement’. But then, he also said that Key Arena was a state of the art facility but then conveniently forgot that a mere 10 years later.

    His ego cannot be forgotten in his. The NBA failing in Seattle was a huge blow against him. He can afford to take it personally. Unlike his NFL, MLB and NHL counterparts he’s pretty much has carte blanche in what he wants to do. Cuban is the only owner that challenges him and Stern gleefully fines him when he does. It’s Sterno’s ego that’s driving his decisions in all this. And it was bruised when Seattle didn’t play ball for him.

    If expansion is the only option the NBA has to make it worth the Hansen’s group while because they’re ready to go. I’m wondering if Nate McMillan has been quiet this whole time because Hansen is ready to hire him as coach. The fair thing to do is to move the Kings and grant an expansion team to Sacramento though they won’t do that.

  • Tian Biao

    Art, I’m surprised you think I-91 is so important to the NBA. I mean, haven’t other markets rejected publicly funded arenas? Is the NBA really THAT addicted to public financing of arenas? or did it just get personal between Stern, Chopp and the other politicians. or . . . what? I’m honestly puzzled by this. it seemed minor to me.

    • art thiel

      Tian, no other market has made such an attitude into municipal law. All pro sports leagues are used to sweetheart leases, and as a result, buildings often operate annually in the red, but the business view is that pro sports are worth it. Seattle took a stand that said pro sports aren’t worth it. Seattle said give us a small return for our lease. Hardly an outrageous proposal, but it shows you what leagues truly thing of local government and fans.

      It seemed minor to you and thousands of other sports fans and media who never understood its consequences. But Stern and his 30 bosses did, and that’s all that counted.

      • Tian Biao

        Thanks for the explanation. I had always suspected that pro sports leagues felt that way. also I suppose the NBA felt jilted after the taxpayers ponied up for the Ms and the Seahawks. (and the Sonics too, with key arena, just not as much).

        • jafabian

          I’m not sure that’s fair though. It isn’t the city’s fault that Safeo Field and Century LInk Field offer more amenities than Key Arena. Both were completed well after the Key Arena upgrade and the Key was done at the specs outlined for construction. And when Howard Schultz wanted upgrades done the Sonics were not performing well. So the city wasn’t terribly inspired to upgrade only 10 years after the last one for a losing franchise.

      • http://twitter.com/rickg rick gregory

        We understood it. To imply that the voters were being dimwitted idiots is insulting. What we understood is that it’s increasingly silly to subsidize people with the wealth of a Howard Schultz, Steve Ballmer, etc so that they can overpay talent to the tune of millions. Is the Seattle law less hospitable than other places? Yes. Did we get that when voting for it? Yes. Maybe, instead of berating the citizens here, Art, it’s time to ask why other cities don’t insist on a small return on their investment. So often we hear that government should be lean and mean and run more like a business. Well, guess what? No private business would run a facility in the red without clear proof that there was a positive return elsewhere.

  • http://www.facebook.com/herb.huseland Herb Huseland

    One wonders how long it will be when Charlotte says, “pick me, pick me!

  • 1coolguy

    Give it a rest Chris – I would have liked to see the Kings here but not the way you are doing it, which at this point is stealing their team. Bringing a team to Seattle a la OKC is not admirable.
    You are at this point looking too much like Clay Bennett.

    • art thiel

      Obviously, there’s a difference — Hansen’s agenda has been clear from the outset. No lying. But the point is, he’s still pulling a team out of a a market where it was well supported. Most Seattle fans don’t really want to consider that.

  • 1coolguy

    I’m sure the arena land Hansen purchased can be rezoned into residential and would be extremely valuable as such. Otherwise, as prices are going up, Hansen may be able to make a profit on selling the land at this point.
    NBA expansion is not what the owners want – more teams bidding on the same players. It’s bad now, so why compound the problem?

    • art thiel

      If Hansen pays $550M for an expansion franchise, they’ll get over the dilution.

  • http://twitter.com/HawksFeather TONY

    If Sacramento group is serious, CASH ONLY transaction should be demanded by the Maloofs.. No cashiers check . currently theSacramento city bidget is 8.9 million in the red…How do they finance $230 million? How stable is the Sacramento group really ?? Who next to leave the group ?