BY Art Thiel 08:42PM 05/01/2013

Thiel: Here’s a solution for NBA. You’re welcome

Business and antitrust law say Hansen has a good argument for being allowed to buy the Kings. Here’s one way it could be win-win-win for all.

Chris Hansen interview video screen shot

Chris Hansen STILL wants to buy the Kings. The NBA should let him. / KING5 photo

I’m going to take Chris Hansen at his word that when he says he still wants to buy the Sacramento Kings, he will do all he can. And he has the paperwork.

For purposes of this little exercise, I’ll also accept that the NBA has the right to determine where its franchises are located, for the reason that McDonald’s never allows two of its stores to occupy the same intersection.

Therefore, it is plausible to assume that Hansen would be willing to operate the team in Sacramento for a length of time to be negotiated. Again, for exercise purposes, let’s say one year.

In that year, the three parties — Hansen, Sacramento investors, the NBA — get what none of them have and all want: Time.

Time for Hansen, governments and taxpayers to review the mandatory environmental impact statements for the proposed arena in SoDo and work toward resolution of litigation that it may prompt.

Time for Sacramento investors to organize themselves and move their downtown arena plans off cocktail napkins and onto blueprints, as well as work toward resolution of litigation that will follow the project.

Time for the NBA to move to a new commissioner who is relatively free of the baggage that the incumbent has accumulated, and to begin negotiations with TV networks well ahead of the expiration of its national contracts after the 2015-16 season. With that information, Commissioner Adam Silver can make a more considered decision on expansion.

Around the end of the 12 months, everyone will know much more than they do now about arena projects in both cities.

If Sacramento is well on its way, Hansen would agree to sell the team to the Sacramento group, led by Vivek Ranadive, for what Hansen paid for it, and Hansen would be able to make a stronger argument for expansion to a more informed NBA (more on this below). If Sacramento fails, the NBA will grant permission to Hansen for a franchise move to Seattle, with no expansion necessary.

There’s a technical term for this. It’s called win-win-win — not to mention the fact that the Maloofs get their money and the hell out of the NBA.

There’s a technical term for the alternative: It’s called lose-lose-lose — it means the lawyers, like the Maloofs, will get their money, only the lawyers won’t go away for a long time.

In the wake of Monday’s decision that rocked Seattle’s sports world and jacked Sacramento’s, Hansen’s feisty, Ali-quoting retort that he will fight and that “impossible is nothing,” has led to speculation that Hansen is bound for the courtroom. If that happens, it will be a shame, for everyone in the process, especially the fans, whose money is the entire driver in this deal.

That isn’t to say Hansen doesn’t have a case. I have heard from attorneys who aren’t involved who were willing to speculate without attribution. Remember this is an exercise, not a trial.

Hansen’s bid has been identified as “very strong” by the outgoing commish, David Stern. So presuming there are no fatal flaws with the Maloof transaction that the NBA has reviewed, business law says there is no reason not to complete the transaction, as long as Hansen agrees to the by-laws of ownership that include no relocation, as well as no suing other owners or the league.

For the NBA to deny the sale risks a suit by Hansen for tortious interference against the Sacramento investors. Hansen can claim that his rivals used a procedural maneuver by a third party (the NBA) — the denial of relocation ahead of the vote on the sale –  to thwart the sale.

The NBA, whose acronym for a long time has been known as “Nothing But Attorneys” by the jaded media pack that covers the league, is hip to the claim. That’s part of why the vote to deny relocation Monday was 7-0 and not 12-0, because the five owners on the finance committee could be cited for conflict if they participated in the relocation vote.

Further, in denying the sale, the NBA risks being drawn into an antitrust argument. And the fight would be against, irony of ironies, the city that whipped the NBA on antitrust once before.

In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the NBA was in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act because the league discriminated against Spencer Haywood, the 20-year-old star signed by Sonics owner Sam Schulman after Haywood won an Olympic gold medal in 1968 and had a stellar year in the old ABA with Denver.

The NBA had a rule that prevented a player from joining the league until four years after his class graduated from high school. The league denied Haywood’s contract. Schulman received a court injunction that allowed him to play.  On March 1, 1971, the Supreme Court, in a decision written by Associate Justice William O. Douglas, one of the greatest jurists in American history who grew up in Yakima, said:

“Applicant then commenced an antitrust action against the NBA. He alleges the conduct of the NBA is a group boycott of himself, and that, under Fashion Originators’ Guild v. FTC, 312 U. S. 457, and Klor’s v. Broadway-Hale Stores, 359 U. S. 207, it is a per se violation of the Sherman Act. He was granted an injunction . . . which allowed him to play for Seattle and forbade NBA to take sanctions against the Seattle team . . . This group boycott issue in professional sports is a significant one.”

An attorney experienced in antitrust wrote me that there is no difference between the actions taken in 1971 by the NBA against the Sonics and Haywood and the possible denial of the Kings sale to the Maloofs.

“There is nothing in the Supreme Court’s decision that restricts its reasoning to contracts between players and teams,” he wrote. “Basically, the NBA owners (would be) engaging in a group boycott disallowing the Maloofs from executing their contract with the Hansen group, in the same way it attempted to prevent the Sonics from executing their contract with Haywood.

“In both cases the league as a group (would be) engaging in anti-competitive practices preventing free trade — here the sale of the basketball team to the highest bidder.”

I imagine the NBA has a different view, just as it did in 1971. And I’m not endorsing the view of the attorney quoted above. What I will say is Hansen at least has a good argument, backed by case law, IF he is denied the purchase of the Kings.

I also imagine each party has a vested interest in not testing federal antitrust law again when a negotiation can bring a much more salutary and immediate result. Which gets this exercise back to a point made earlier about expansion, as well the oddness of the potential one-year temp ownership.

The risk in Hansen’s temporary stewardship in Sacramento is minimal, because unlike Clay Bennett’s ruthless butchery of the final two Sonics seasons in Seattle, Hansen  has nothing to gain by diminishing the Kings because he will have a chance to own them long-term. Bennett knew he was moving the team, so he disengaged it from the community, stripped it of talent, deliberately lost games and gained high draft choices that made the Thunder a team that reached the NBA Finals last year.

As far as expansion, the NBA has a modest argument that it is only beginning to see the results of a new collective bargaining agreement, achieved after a lockout, whose revenue sharing eventually will make all teams close to break-even in their markets. Taking on a 31st partner for 2013-14 is premature when no substantive study has been done.

But preparing for a new team in 2014-15 is enough time to know what future revenues may look like, and what the one-time expansion fee payment will be that compensates the 30 owners.

So there you have it. Not buying this exercise?

Fine. Suggest a better solution, short of litigation. Remember two things: The bid war for the Kings is unprecedented in the history of modern American pro sports, so it requires an unprecedented solution, and the outcome has to be win-win-win.


YourThoughts

  • lawdood

    Thanks for the laugh.

    • seattlenative57

      You think this is funny …. wait until you see the final agreement. Nothing is simple and clear-cut with the NBA.

  • Antonio

    Somebody’s been smokin

    • seattlenative57

      Someones in denial.

  • Imran Yunis

    Send this to David stern

  • andy sims

    There is nothing sports fans love more than a good case citation:

    “Klor’s v. Broadway-Hale Stores, 359 U. S. 207! Klor’s sure beat the hell out of them, despite 5 objections by Larry Berg!”

    You’re embarrassing yourself, Art. The only thing standing between Seattle and an NBA team right now are these butthurt threats of a lawsuit. The NBA wants to be in Seattle, simply not at the cost of the Sacramento market.

    As for the Kings moving north, forget it, it’s over. You should start doing what Kevin Johnson did, and work on what’s possible, not on what isn’t.

    • art thiel

      Sorry if I scared you with the citation, Andy.

      And thanks for explaining how the NBA is dying to get here with no more moveable teams, thanks the the new CBA and long leases nearly everywhere.

      • andy sims

        Keep shooting for expansion, Seattle is obviously a viable market.

        In addition to the legendarily amazing fan support enjoyed by the Kings, a proactive mayor who has brought together people of real means to purchase the team, and approval for the deal by the city council, Sacramento is still obviously the smaller market, and as such, would be harder to justify for expansion than Seattle is. There will be no second chances here, and believe me, if Ranadive’s money wasn’t as green as Hansen’s, the Mayflower trucks would have pulled up at Key Arena last week.

        I don’t think Sonics fans are being served well by the notion that Hansen’s offer was better than Ranadive’s (it isn’t) that Seattle is closer to breaking ground on a new building than Sacramento is (is isn’t) or that David Stern can be subpoena’d into doing what you want. This deal is done. Seattle wasn’t jobbed, the incumbent market stepped up and proved that everything the team’s derelict owners had been asserting was false. There was never anything wrong with the market, only the ownership.

        Find Seattle’s Ed Montes and Carmichael Dave. Look to the intarwebs for its Tom Ziller, and hope to hell your mayor can make things happen like Kevin Johnson. When the Maloofs reneged on the deal from two years ago, the fanbase figured out a way to get what it wanted and take the family out of the equation. Play the game, and you’ll have the Sonics again, and without the shame of stealing a team from elsewhere.

        You all got screwed by Clay Bennett, but at the same time, you didn’t do half of what Sacramento has done in order to save your team. Don’t vilify Sacramento, learn from it. Believe me, there is no team we look forward more to playing in a couple of years than the Seattle Supersonics. Make it happen!

        • Jared S.

          Sacramento had years of failed arena-funding attempts before it finally got it right after the near-move to Anaheim:

          http://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/SACRAMENTO-STANDOFF-New-arena-plans-have-2688846.php

          Seattle wasn’t even allowed the end of the lease of it’s recently-remodeled arena before the team bolted. And unlike Sacramento, it had legitimate reason to have stadium fatigue after funding all of the facilities (including KeyArena) in the past. If Stern had treated Sacramento like he treated Seattle the Kings would have been gone before KJ had been elected mayor.

          And as for lecturing Seattle to wait for an expansion team that might never come–why didn’t Sacramento wait for expansion when it took the Kings from Kansas City (the NBA added four new teams just a few years later)?:

          http://deadspin.com/5978111/a-history-lesson-for-sacramento-how-kansas-city-lost-the-kings

          • andy sims

            I agree with what you said: Sacramento got it right.

            Dump all you want, Sacramento isn’t your problem. The NBA and the people of Washington are your problem.

            Get it right, you’ll have shiny new Sonics to cheer for.

          • Mary

            Andy

            Seriously, why do you feel the need to condescend? I suppose you’re not even aware of the Key Arena renovations that were made? The $100+ million spent. That had just a bit to do with us not throwing our finances out the window. The NBA has jacked your city with such a deal that you’ll be on financial fumes for years (and that’s if it actually works). Keep lecturing if you think “get it right” entails bankruptcy.

            Sacramento remains our “problem” as you put it until this is over. And it’s not over, no matter how much you want it to be.

          • andy sims

            Everything you’ve mentioned may be true, Mary, but in the instant matter, they remain irrelevant. This deal is done, and just because you claim otherwise, and do so with conviction, doesn’t change this fact.

            I also appreciate your concern for the finances of the city of Sacramento, but “I suppose you’re not even aware” of the benefits that will bloom from several thousand construction jobs over the next few years, along with the added economic benefits of revitalizing the downtown core. I suppose that Seattlites are pure basketball fans, and would never taint their sporting experience with talk of filthy lucre, but as for me, the Kings and the new complex are a means to an end for the region where I live. The fact that we’ll be able to do so, and be rid of the Maloofs in one fell swoop just makes it all the more sweet.

          • Todd

            No deal is done. That’s ignorance bliss.

          • politypop

            Beats the hell our of ‘Arrogance is bliss’ if you ask me.

          • art thiel

            Nobody with a brain in Seattle is dumping on Sacto. The town fought hard and well, and has a ways to go. The point of the column was to avert litigation, get rid of the Maloofs, buy time for all and push the NBA to an expansion timetable.

            Sac is in charge of its fate. Can’t ask for more.

          • Todd

            Sac will ask for more time when they get to the deposit deadline. Stern will probably grant it. What is your thoughts?

          • seattlenative57

            The Maloof’s are the problem. Getting rid of them will require the NBA to play ball with Hansen. Watch.

          • politypop

            Amen, Andy.

        • jafabian

          The NBA didn’t give Seattle a chance. Schultz sold the team to Bennett before the city knew the transaction was happening and when some of the minority owners said they could put together a group to buy the team from Bennett to keep the team in Seattle Sterno said that wasn’t an option. Make no mistake the Sonics were purchased by Bennett for the purpose of moving the team and Sterno did everything he could to make it happen to help his friend. Aubrey McClendon all but confirmed that.

          • art thiel

            That’s how it rolled. And as I wrote earlier, the irony of the Seattle debacle in 08 is the impetus now to deny another relocation. Amazing.

          • politypop

            You’re right. It’s Stern’s fault you didn’t sell out your last home game, or the last couple hundred M’s games.

          • MarkS

            Don’t you get tired of being wrong politypop? I present to you the final Sonics game.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mp4lAafmZFA

          • politypop

            Well, if I ever am I’ll let you know. Someone once asked me once if I ever failed math. While admittedly I got better grades in English, I did learn enough to know that 16,272 (final home game attendance) is not only not equal to, but in fact less than 17,459 (Key Area capacity for basketball games). But that’s a nice video you got there. You Seattle basketball hipsters are cute.

          • politypop

            And while a homemade Youtube video is compelling evidence, I’d site something more substantial, like, I dunno, a newspaper. Heck, I’d even use your own, hometown newspaper.

            http://seattletimes.com/html/nba/2004347096_soni14.html

          • politypop

            And finally, since you’re a fan of Youtube, there’s this….

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1UUTlcCisU

          • MarkS

            It’s the last home game fool. I appreciate that you think I’m talented enough to doctor it.

          • politypop

            You should read the post a little closer there, Mr. T. Not suggesting the tape was doctored, just that using it was a weak argument, seeing as how there were nearly 1,200 empty seats at Key Arena that night.

          • politypop

            And for the record, no, I don’t think you’re talented enough.

        • http://twitter.com/AdamLewisWSU Adam Lewis

          To suggest that Sacramento’s arena offer is even remotely comparable to Seattle’s extends the line of preposterousness to a place Rush Limbaugh wouldn’t be comfortable with.

          • ryan

            I suppose having the Mayor, City council, State assemblymen, Congressman of the district and a rewriting of laws in CA all pushing for the Arena to be built in Sacramento doesn’t qualify as being as far along as Seattle’s arena deal which could be tied up for years with the Longshoremans Union law suits alone. Oh ho,.. I dared to involve facts. I know how you Seattle people prefer not to become involved with those.

          • Todd

            California is BROKE and in debt like no other state in the US. I’m sure this is more important than people having places to live and simply eat? I remember not long ago California was handing out IOU’s because it couldn’t pay back state tax refunds. Yep, seems legit.

          • Chris

            Stop talking about things you don’t know anything about. That lawsuit was dismissed over 2 months ago:

            http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/23/us-nba-seattle-lawsuit-idUSBRE91M03U20130223

        • Todd

          KJ is a ethics nightmare. Do you soon forget his scandoulous not so distant past? Not even mentioning his fiance who may be going to jail.

    • Todd

      Only thing you are not addressing is the simple fact that the Sac group needs to match the Seattle group’s offer. Shouldn’t be a problem with a wealthy collection of marine life, right? The Maloofs made it very clear they will not sell to the Sac group because their offer is not comparable. Are you going to cover the difference?

      • politypop

        Actually, after the estimated $75m relocation fee, the Sac group’s offer puts more money in the Maloof’s pockets. That’s saying nothing of the $70m of debt the franchise is into the city of Sacramento for. The Maloof’s refusal was based on spite, not economics. They’re a lot of things, but good businessmen isn’t one of them. And if you think, as over-leveraged as they are with all their failing investments, they won’t sell to a Sac group for cash on hand, you don’t know the Maloofs.

        • MarkS

          Wow. Did you fail math? The relocation fee is not included in the price of the team.
          The $70 million dollar debt goes with the team not the Maloofs. The loan was taken out before the Maloofs owned the team. It will be Hansen’s responsibility if the Kings are sold to him.

          • politypop

            …which is my point. If you think Hand-J/Ballsac deal doesn’t include a provision to cover themselves for a least (at least!) a portion of over 145m of incremental costs at the expense of the seller (Maloofs), then you’re underestimating your golden boys.

          • MarkS

            Wow polly. You did fail math.

          • politypop

            I’d suggest you failed business, Mork, but that would suggest you’ve set foot in a classroom.

    • Todd
  • JoeB

    Hee-larious…the thought that they’d let Hansen buy the Kings and operate them in Sacramento. The obvious explanation for this idea is that they legalized marijuana in Washington.

    • art thiel

      Cuts your drive time in half for BC Bud.

      • Todd

        ^hahahaha…. spot on

  • Topcopy

    Don’t worry, Art. Prophets are rarely appreciated in their own time.

  • stylesac21

    This is a joke? Right? I think this is a joke? Haha, it is! It is a joke, isn’t it. Ohhh Art, you ARE funny! Sacramento doesn’t need time anymore, they still have their team. They’ll take that over time…since they don’t need time anymore.

    • art thiel

      No one’s taking the Kings unless Sactown blows the deal. My idea is no risk to Sactown — unless you think the arena deal might not work.

      • stylesac21

        I don’t believe that the NBA would EVER let Hansen own the team in Sacramento. Knowing his intentions, how could he ever be expected to do that with total integrity? And then, how could Kings fans be blamed for whatever shaky fan support would follow Hansen running the franchise in Sacramento. That whole dynamic could never come to fruition because there’s just no sense in it. Your’e kidding yourself if you think the league would let that environment exist even for a season.

        ALLLLL the vetting and ALLLL the assessing of the arena plan was carried out in full before the reccomendation. The relo committe didn’t just say, “well, we’ll fix it in a few weeks if something comes up”.

        One thing was for sure when this began- the Maloofs would not be NBA owners by the start of next season. Now we know (barring an exceptional development in perspective towards expansion) that Hansen and Ballmer won’t be either. The net gain to the Maloofs being the same, and they having covered their bums from legal action with their initial persistence to proceed with the binding deal they made- the Maloofs will sell to who they still can, and the NBA has determined that this is Vivek Ranadive and company.

        Seattle’s going to have to go forth with their quest to bring the NBA without the Kings as a part of the puzzle. The NBA will return to Seattle as long as it’s a priority for the city, and the Kings will not be a part of that plot except in the sense that this saga has prepped the NBA to throw Seattle a lifeline at the very moment that it finally makes sense. You’re doing the great Sonics fanbase a disservice by prolonging their hope in this storyline.

  • WestCoastBias79

    I smell nervous trolls.

  • Tom

    Nice work, Art.

    The only thing I’d tweak in this article is Hansen would get guaranteed expansion in 2015-2016 (in time for a presumed new arena opening) if the Vivek group matched Hansen’s purchase dollar-for-dollar and the Kings stay in Sacramento forever.

    • art thiel

      That could work. It’s all negotiable if all parties agree that litigation is the equivalent of going nuclear. But the threat has to be clear and present.

      • Tom

        Well, it SMELLS like an antitrust lawsuit waiting to happen as long as Ballmer wants to keep sweetening the pot (and thus, Seattle always has the superior bid) and/or the Maloofs are adamant about selling to Hansen because of the financial security in that deal.

        Plus, if Hansen stayed in Sacramento temporarily (as you suggest), Hansen raises his offer in effect by MILLIONS because of certain payments the Maloofs would never have to touch ($67 million loan, $10 million relocation penalty, etc.); so there’s that.

  • WestCoastBias79

    Make that the stench of bloviating nervous trolls. (Thanks for the clicks!)

  • Leon Russell

    “Fine. Suggest a better solution, short of litigation.”

    This presumes there is a problem. It may be that the NBA doesn’t think there is any problem in denying the sale to Hansen. The NBA may not be worried about a lawsuit. Who knows? As you said in the article, the NBA has a whole lot of lawyers very familiar with this type of law.

    • Ates

      meaning they know that they would lose a lot of money. i can tell, you only skim read this article

      • Leon Russell

        I can tell you are not a lawyer.

    • art thiel

      There is a problem, Leon. The Maloofs have a deal to sell to Hansen.

      • cnc

        That must be approved by the NBA

      • Leon Russell

        YOU think that is a problem. Is it possible that David Stern and his lawyers know some thing(s) that you don’t know?
        Somewhere I read that the NBA requires any contract to sell a team include a clause that the NBA can not be sued if they deny the sale. So, is it possible that the contract that Hansen signed with the Maloofs includes a clause that neither party can sue the NBA if the sale is denied? If Hansen signed a contract saying that he can’t sue the NBA if the sale is denied, then where does that leave him?
        There was already a story written that Hansen was caught off-guard by only the relocation committee’s 7 members voting on the recommendation. Supposedly, Hansen was also surprised that the relocation was denied. If Hansen actually was surprised by either of these events, that is not such a good sign that Hansen knows exactly what he is doing, or what he is up against.
        If it is the $30 million deposit that is a legal “problem” for the NBA, do you think it is beyond the realm of possibility that someone — the city of Sacramento, the Sacramento potential buyers, or the NBA — would come up with $30 million just to make Hansen go away? Remember, Bennett paid something like $40 million to Seattle to get out of the KeyArena lease.
        I don’t think anyone commenting here has any idea how this is going to play out. But, speculation is entertaining.

        • art thiel

          I’ll confine my remark to your last sentence. You are correct. No one knows, because the situation is unprecedented.

          I have offered an exercise that illuminates a possible successful outcome for all parties. But it would take patience and some risk — as the NBA showed in its decision to own the New Orleans franchise for two years until changed circumstances allowed for a sale.

          I’d call that risky, patient and smart.

      • http://twitter.com/madzillagd Nacho Thoreson

        Don’t put out misinformation Art. The Maloofs have a deal to sell to Hansen PENDING APPROVAL BY THE NBA. That part always seems to be conveniently left off any articles in the NW. The only parties bound by that agreement right now are the Maloofs and Hansen, it is not a binding contract with the NBA because they have not voted on it yet. In terms of NBA ownership and the privileges that go with ownership, that piece of paper is worthless at the moment. Hansen has no more rights as an NBA owner at the moment than you or I do.

    • seattlenative57

      The NBA has not even touched the issue of the sale. That’s Art’s point. They’ve only dealt with the issue of relocation. Denying the sale is the can of worms the NBA is attempting to avoid.

  • Dongcopter Pilot

    How again is Stern going to force the Maloofs to accept Ranadive’s lesser offer?

    Oh, that’s right…he CAN’T

    It’s going to be so funny watching the idiot Maloofs get the last laugh on Wackramento with the help of Ballmer’s billions..no matter what you do, there’s no way to force them to sell to anyone, and they are firmly in Hansen/Ballmer’s pocket at this point. Get ready for the next bid-up, Wackramento! Better get your piggy banks!!

    As a Sonics fan, nothing has me feeling better or more optimistic than the fact that the Wackramento Kings fans are swarming all over every article about the saga…your fear is palpable, children.

    • andy sims

      “Wackramento.”

      I guess the brilliant creativity Seattle is known for died with Jimi Hendrix and Harvey Danger.

      I sincerely hope that you believe all that you say, I really do. It’ll be more heartbreaking for you that way.

      • no fool

        raggety andy is from sacramento which is known for???? FOG….Cowbells….um…….

        • andy sims

          I see, your arguments have been picked apart, so now it’s just easier to attempt to be insulting. Well, that’s your right, so enjoy!

          As for me, I’ll probably just continue watching the Kings play in Sacramento. And what does it say about you that you’ve failed to convince the NBA that your city is better than a rest stop on I-5?

          At least I-91 is nowhere near here…

          • Todd

            Andy, you’re not even witty. Just fueled by negativity and an obvious inferiority complex to Seattle. There is more to life than trolling.

          • andy sims

            I disagree. If I was a Washington voter, I’d absolutely have cast a ballot for I-91. It’s sensible legislation, which, under the circumstances, I’m grateful to not be burdened with.
            Sacramentans want Seattle to have a team, but please pardon us for not conceding a local asset which has done some great things for the region.
            I don’t live in Sacramento because of the NBA team, and I would still move to Seattle, even if they never got the NBA back. It’s a great American city, which can prosper without a franchise, but which I think won’t need to for very much longer.
            Ultimately you have groups throwing billions of dollars around, the NBA is aware, and will be ready to take it off your hands directly.
            Go Sonics! Stay Kings!

      • no fool

        sacramento is a great place to stop and piss after a visit to LA…..Nobody sees you because it is so foggy all the god damn time…..

        • politypop

          Don’t you live in the suicide capital of the world? Nobody hears you because you’re constantly going off the George Washington Bridge. But you’re right, we do get fog. And more that five days with 70*+ weather.

          • MarkS

            Actually Sacramento has a higher suicide rate but thanks for showing your ignorance and representing your city with such class.

          • politypop

            Sorry, I meant the George Washington MEMORIAL Bridge, Also known as the Aurora Bridge (which has seen 230+ since its construction). But seeing as how you all keep referring to the Kings as the Sonics, you’re all not big on referring to things by their proper name up there.

          • politypop

            And I’m very familiar with the whole ‘rate’ of suicide argument that Seattlites like to make to justify living in what basically equates to Depresso-topia. Read the above comments and you’ll find no shortage siting that Seattle’s population is superior to Sacramento’s in terms of size. So go ahead and site cities that are half your size and their ‘suicide vs. rate of population’ as opposed to actual, hard numbers, which, I will remind you represent actual lives. More people die their by their own hand, but please don’t let that fact bother you. Using this argument I could make a case that, given the ‘rate’ of empty seats vs. full seats at any given ball game, the Sacramento Rivecats outdraw the Seattle Mariners.

          • politypop

            I owe an apology to the Rivercats for underestimating them! In 2012 their average attendance was just north of 11k, where the M’s drew around 13k (2nd to last in MLB). They almost outdrew them flat-out! Hahaha! Helluva sports town you got there!

          • MarkS

            Huh?
            Dude you’re all over the road like a drunk driver. Give it up before you look like a bigger fool.

          • politypop

            You’re right, I shouldn’t have pointed out the fact your MLB team almost gets out drawn by the A’s farm team. Or used multisyllabic words, which apparently confuse you.

          • politypop

            By the way, nice job deleting your comment about the George Washington (Memorial) bridge I was referring to being in New York. I’d want a mulligan on that one too if I were you…fool.

          • MarkS

            Oh and the George Washington Bridge runs from Manhattan to New Jersey genius.

      • Todd

        “I guess the brilliant creativity Seattle is known for died with Jimi Hendrix and Harvey Danger.

        So what does Sacramento have to offer to the world???? *crickets*

        Oh I found a list. Look at that! Sasha Grey the porn star is the 2nd most popular person from Sac. Amazing! http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_place=Sacramento,%20California,%20USA

        • andy sims

          Sacramento does, however, have an arrangement to maintain our NBA franchise indefinitely.

          But I don’t want to change the subject from you changing the subject.

          • Todd

            You are the one that brought up Hendrix…lol

    • http://twitter.com/madzillagd Nacho Thoreson

      You are 100% right that the NBA can’t force the Maloofs to take Ranadive’s offer. However, once the NBA denies the Hansen offer what are the Maloofs left with? Ranadive has an offer on the table for a $525M valuation of the team. The team’s true value in Sacramento is $300M per Forbes. So if the Maloofs don’t accept the Ranadive offer at $525M – what guarantee do they have that the next bidder will bid that high? None. That’s the rub. They will most likely lose money if they don’t accept the bid now that the NBA has made it clear that the team will stay in Sacramento. They lose all leverage.

      Furthermore, the Maloofs owe around $200M on the Kings right now. 65% of $300M is $195M. You see, at the current value the Maloofs would make nothing if they sold the team. The $525M valuation is their only chance to come out of the league with $$ in their pockets. The league can’t force the Maloofs to do anything but it’s the Maloofs’ finances that will be forcing the issue. If they want to make money they have to get out with one of these two offers. The league can’t dictate which offer the Maloofs accept, but it can dictate which offer they will approve.

      • Todd

        Because the Hansen group can still buy the team and keep it in Sac for a year or 2 then relocate later. Take the blinders off. Remember this group is already a minority owner via claiming ownership through BK court.

        • http://twitter.com/madzillagd Nacho Thoreson

          No Todd, they have a bid in to be a minority owner but any ownership stake has to be approved by the league which hasn’t happened yet for the 7%. Right now Hansen owns 0% of the team and after May 15 he’ll own 0% of the team.

  • terdburglar

    Do you think Microsoft has some experience with anti-trust law suits (see US government) I wonder if there are a few agents and Politicians who would love to see the NBA business practices become public record, the NBA would not let this go to court,

    • WestCoastBias79

      The NBAPA would wet themselves to see the NBA’s books open. The NBA is not letting this happen.

    • art thiel

      Microsoft has nothing to do with this deal, terd.

      • Emmy Dogg

        other than their CEO is part of the Hansen ownership team

        • art thiel

          Really? Do you think Ranadive is using TIBCO money?

  • Mckoosa

    Art….wasn’t that March 1st of 1971, not ’72, that Justice Douglas made his ruling on Haywood?

    • art thiel

      Case fied in 71, ruling in 72. And that’s what you took from this?

      • Bryan

        My wife does this, Art. It’s called ADD.

        • art thiel

          I respect candor, Bryan. Understood.

    • art thiel

      Recheck: It was 71. Thanks.

  • cnc

    Win-Win…What? That scenario would be an incredible loss for Sacramento. Hansen has repeatedly stated his desire to move the team to Seattle. It’s preposterous to think he would buy the team and deal with Sacramento in any sort of genuine way or that he would resell the team in the year. Selling the team to Hansen and not moving to Seattle would obviously and inevitably lead to him Bennetting Sacramento in favor of Seattle.

    If the NBA is going to allow Hansen to buy the team, they might as well let him move it immediately. Aside from expansion, the only scenario that makes sense, given that relocation is off the table, is to sell the team to Sacramento.

    • art thiel

      My point is that the only way the Kings move is if the arena deal fails in a year. Is the deal so shaky that Sactown wouldn’t risk that much?

      • cnc

        Art – I appreciate the reply. Most columnists won’t stand behind what they write.

        The Sacramento arena deal being “shaky” is a straw man argument. The risk in your plan has nothing to Sacramento’s arena deal, which has been vetted by the NBA. Hansen would Bennett Sacramento in the first year, and *no one* knows that better than the people in Seattle.

        • art thiel

          Disagree, cnc. The negotiation between Ranadive/Hansen would spell out rights and obligations to preclude abuse. But it would require an atmosphere of cooperation instead of conflict. Do we have boys big enough on both sides to manage that? Hope so.

          And the NBA knows much needs to be done on the Sac arena plan. That’s why I advocated for a year’s time for both plans. Time gives the chance to reduce mistakes.

      • ryan

        Thats retarded, Art. If the Maloofs, as owners, were able to foil several arena deals in the past, whats to say Hansen and Balmer won’t. Building an arena is a public AND PRIVATE endeavor and you’d need both to make it work. No one is worried about getting an arena built with owners who’s desire is to invest in the Sacramento market. But if their desire is to move to Seattle?? Come on man, what a joke!!! In your craptastic scenario Sacramento loses an arena because Hansen and Balmer become owners and don’t agree to invest. Then they’d lose the team after one year and will then be left with nothing; no arena, no NBA team. Meanwhile Seattle gets the hope of stealing the Kings once Hansen/Balmer destroy Sac arena plans. But if by some miracle and unexplainable reason the Hansen/Balmer actually do invest in a Sac arena and we break ground in Sac then Seattle will still be rewarded an NBA expansion team. That’s win-win-win for Seattle and only extremely-unlikely-boarderline-inpossible-win-lose-lose for Sacramento.

        Side note:
        “because unlike Clay Bennett’s ruthless butchery of the final two Sonics seasons in Seattle, Hansen has nothing to gain by diminishing the Kings because he will have a chance to own them long-term.”
        And Clay Bennett DIDN’T have a chance of owning the team long-term?? That was an embarrassingly inaccurate thought.

        • art thiel

          Ryan, you don’t know the Sonics timeline. Bennett bought from Howard Schultz in July 06, lied about his intents, offered almost no private money for a new arena, then undercut the team’s performance for 2 yrs in order to generate alienation. In July 08 he was allowed to buy out last 2 yrs at KeyArena for $45M.

          Any deal struck between Hansen/Ranadive would have to have language that prevents such abuse. It’s far less risky than what the NBA did when it bought the New Orleans franchise in 10 for $310M.

      • politypop

        The only thing shaky here is the sanity of arguing that horsetrading franchises between ownership groups could actually work. Wouldn’t that require the kind of collusion and backdoor dealing you spend the rest of the article arguing against?

        • politypop

          “Sure, give us the team…and we’ll give it back once we get a shiny new one”. The upshot to living with the Maloofs is that we’ve learned to watch our backs.

  • sassya

    A law suit will be filed and Seattle will get what ever they want, the NBA can not go to court for two years; with all their dirty laundry being hung out for the world to see.

    • art thiel

      The point was to avoid litigation.

  • gophishy

    I am sure Steve Balmer and his Micorsoft anti-trust lawyers who have battled the European Union, states, and governments are scared of the “Nothing but attorney’s.”

  • Tdoggy

    What about maloofs violating the contract and first right of refusal by minority owners?

    • art thiel

      No issue if Kings are purchased by Ranadive, but Maloofs claim the offer is inadequate. Haven’t heard a bench ruling about first refusal for minority owners.

    • KtownMatt

      Hansen is a minority owner, he bought the 7% in bankruptcy court.

      • http://twitter.com/madzillagd Nacho Thoreson

        No he is not. That 7% has to be approved by the NBA, which hasn’t happened yet. He’s put a bid on it only.

  • http://twitter.com/LyfeStiles Marshall Stiles

    I don’t know why everyone is bashing this idea. This same thought has been talked about all day at sonicsrising.com. It makes sense.

    1.Cant force Maloofs to sell to Sac bidders.

    2. Approve Hansen/Ballmer sale with condition that the team stays in Sac and gives Sac a chance to actually follow through on their claims. If they do, congrats team is sold to Sac bidders. If they don’t, then the NBA saves face in allowing the team to leave a market that has supported them.

    Hansen/Ballmer are not suing the NBA unless its a last resort. We’re not at that point yet.

    • art thiel

      The NBA’s antitrust vulnerability is real, but the question is whether the NBA attorneys say: We dare you. That probably will infuriate Ballmer, but he has to be smart about getting mad at somebody else’s monopoly.

      • Todd

        Very true but Ballmer’s monopoly is just a little bigger …. Even the NBA can’t push these guys around. This extends out into the business world, not just their small world of the NBA. I don’t think anybody wants to get on Ballmer’s bad side? Do you think the NBA relies on MS technology like most? Just a thought.

  • Bryant

    1) The Maloofs violated the contract and first right refusal by minority owners.

    2) Hansen will not sue the NBA if he ever wants a team in the future. If you make the NBA angry why would they want to work with you in the future?

    3) All sales have to be approved by the NBA! If the NBA does not approve the relocation then they will not approve the sale to Hansen. The Seattle group knew they needed approval. If they do not receive approval they have a small case in court that will not go far.

    4) When the sale is not approved for Hansen it would be very wise for him not to sue. He needs to stay in good graces with the league if he wants a team in the future. If anyone has learned anything so far it is that this is more of a political situation than a business situation. If this was business, the team would move to Seattle, but it is political and the NBA wants to send a message to the small market teams to put the money up when the NBA wants a new arena.

  • Matt712

    It’s a pretty utopian solution, Art. But here are a couple of challenges: 1) The only scenario David Stern has ever been interested in is the “I win, you lose” scenario; not the win-win, and certainly not the win-win-win when it comes to Seattle. Too much compromise for him to stomach. 2) The idea of ‘temporary ownership’ of a team would have all the promise of succes as a substitute teacher. Hansen would wind up with spit wads and a ‘kick me’ sign on his back. How could a team and city bond with someone they know would rather be somewhere else (and tried like hell to get them there), no matter how well he treats them?

    For me, the only utopia left is an engagement ring from the NBA along with a wedding date. Expansion is what I and, I think, many Sonics fans would have preferred all along. and the lack of talk, or even willingness to talk about it, from the owners (at least public ally) is one of the more intriguing aspects of this whole thing. Keeping it ‘off the table’ may be the one thing most responsible for driving the bids/value up. And now that the deed is done, value reset (by a hedge fund manager no less), maybe they will collectively reward Hansen/Ballmer with a team and market that will most certainly in turn reward the rest of the league in shared revenue.

  • M

    R u serious with this garbage? What a stretch. This is soooo far fetched I feel silly for just reading it.

  • jafabian

    Hansen can’t be given the team but kept in Sacramento. The Kings then become a lame duck team and a losing business venture because fans won’t know whether they can support the team or not and I doubt Hansen would want that from both a business and ethical perspective. At least all this time he’s been upfront instead of saying he’s a man possessed in keeping the team there.

    However if the NBA says they’ll make it worth his while to go with expansion and wait it out 2-3 years then I propose that the deal the NBA cuts with him is to waive the expansion entry fee and since Sterno have proved his office has the power to meddle in NBA player transactions (see Chris Paul and Pau Gasol) (and maybe even Dwight Howard) that the NBA “arrange” Durant to return to Seattle in exchange for something like a second round draft pick and for Jeff Green, Nick Collison and Russell Westbrook to be available only to Seattle when they become free agents.

    But really, isn’t it time to stop playing fair with the NBA? They’ve been cutting corners, going behind Hansen’s back and doing under the table deals this whole time.

  • Michael Kaiser

    –I train attorneys and also speak at law schools on certain areas of the law. (send me an e-mail if you want verification.) I also don’t need to hide. Douglas was a jackass, and finally had to be, essentially, removed from the bench. He also was looked at as lazy, unprincipled, and sloppy in his legal work. About the only thing he did well was marry–which I believe he did, roughly, six times.
    –And watching Seattle make fun of the capital of, arguably, the most powerful state in the country is funny. Or the capital of what some actually consider a country.
    –The next time you hear the word “tortious inference,” it is going to be directed at Seattle by Sacramento.
    –You solution is not win-win. How could it be considered a win for Sacramento when it puts into place, and formalizes, a mechanism under which Sacramento could more easily lose the Kings? No way in the world would Sacramento agree to it. And Seattle can not touch Sacramento in any way right now. The “binding agreement, (LOL) as Hansen puts it, means absolutely nothing and, by definition, is not even remotely binding. Does Hansen think if he describes it long enough as a “binding agreement” it will shape the dialogue over what occurred? Well, yes, that is exactly what he thinks. But, as I said, his “binding agreement” actually does not exist, except in his mind. An owner of a NBA franchises does not have unlimited freedom to dispose of an NBA team any way the owner wishes. And “third parties,” which is Hansen in this affair, are way down the chain with regard to any right to shape anything.
    –Relocation committee before approval of sale? Of course. It would be beyond ridiculous to approve a sale to a party that wants to move a team before deciding if you actually are going to let the team move. Is this really that complicated for some people.
    –Procedural maneuver by a third party? The NBA is THE party. Once again, we have folks thinking that the world revolves around Seattle, and thus anything the NBA might have done–even if it was in keeping with long-time procedural guidelines–was somehow a “procedural maneuver” designed to hurt Seattle. Please.
    –Anti-trust challenge? Oh, ya, I want to see that one fly. And based upon a case involving individual citizens completely barred–at least for a period of their life–from practicing their trade.

    • politypop

      Hallelujah, Brother!!!

  • Emmy Dogg

    so if Sacramento finds a way to make the tax payers pay for a new arena without the city going bankrupt, then Hansen gets nothing for the effort? doesn’t sounds like a win to me

    • cnc

      The Sacramento arena would be paid for using future parking revenue.

      Not tax money. Parking money.

      • MarkS

        Which currently goes to the City of Sacramento which has had to cut back services due to budget constraints.

        • politypop

          Granted, the loss of parking revenue isn’t ideal, but what city cutbacks are you talking about? There were job cuts last year but at least we were able to keep our libraries open on their normal schedules unlike some ‘more successful’ cities (I’m looking at YOU Seattle!). In fact services were ADDED in 2012, including:

          $1.13m to assist some 16k in need families with utilities

          $150k to after school programs for at-risk youth

          $100k to homeless families

          Remember MarkS, when you assume things about cities you know nothing about, you make an ‘ass’ out of ‘U’ and…well…just ‘U’, really.

          In any case, back to your original ‘point’, the parking revenue is, as I said, not ideal. However the loss of revenue which would come with a King’s move, as well as the revenue gain in a new area and a revitalization of our downtown, makes this investment too important not to make.

  • CaptainCommonsense

    Great analysis, Art.

  • coot

    There may be undesirable side-effects of buying the team and then just selling it again in a year, as far as taxes, etc…. but this solution assumes that to be a pretty frictionless operation.

  • Mary

    It’s amazing how many folks dismiss this out of hand with what appears little knowledge of anti-trust law. “Ha, ha, why would the NBA do that?” Because they may not have a choice unless they want to take a serious risk in court. It’s that simple really. Granted, I don’t think this is their first preference, but Seattle fighting back as opposed to going meekly in the night may not have been expected. The NBA does NOT want a vote on the sale because of this exposure. Barring an ironclad, in-writing, promise of expansion, they are going to have to vote on the sale. And if they turn down the sale, everyone start your lawyers. I realize that some Sac fans aren’t happy about this (we can appreciate the desire for closure), but what we want does not change federal law. The easiest way out for Seattle and Sacramento remains the expansion team for Seattle with the sale to new group in Sacramento. But you need the NBA to agree to that and thus far they have not. Hence the game of chicken…

  • The Mitten

    Hansen didn’t invest more than $30 million to walk away like the NBA would like. I believe he should engage what I call “The Bennett Plan” which is similar to Art’s, but follows the dirty pool model that Clay Bennett masterfully executed:

    Step 1: Buy the 65% share (Hansen already owns 7%), the NBA can’t force the Maloof’s to sell to anyone, not without a lawsuit, and there is already a binding purchase agreement.

    Step 2: Leave the team in SacTown, for now, while demanding the city and state build a “first class, state of the art” arena in the downtown plaza. The price tag for such a hoops palace should be at the very least $700 million. The Hansen group would pitch in an amount capped at $150 million, no matter what the cost overruns might be. The rest would be paid for by an increased rental car, restaurant, hotel, and downtown B&O tax. The Hansen ownership team would also enjoy a majority of the revenue from the arena, including parking revenue.

    Step 3: Give the city and state one year to document, vote and approve on the arena funding package. The city must also donate the land for the arena, which shouldn’t be an issue because they’ve promised this to the other ownership group.

    Step 4: After the state of California and SacTown decide that, holy crap, this NBA arena funding model that the entire league aspires to really sucks, they will not have the spine or the desire to pay for something so lavish while their state and city is nearly bankrupt as it is.

    Step 5: Hansen goes to the relocation committee after one year and applies to move the team to Seattle after doing “everything possible” to keep the team in SacTown. Without the political backing, funding and viable arena suitable to make money in the NBA, Hansen has no choice but to relocate to a city that can support pro basketball.

    • cnc

      After all of the righteous indignation, a documentary, national media attention and 100% valid criticism about what Clay Bennett did to Seattle, you’d support that scenario?

      Wow.

      Also, California has a balanced State budget. The City of Sacramento passed a sales tax increase last November that shored up its general fund. Neither is anywhere near bankruptcy. Sacramento is not Stockton as Seattle is not Tacoma.

      • The Mitten

        Yes, I would support that scenario. That’s the system the NBA set up. Time to put on your big boy pants. Ask the people in SacTown how their economy is doing. City furloughs, unemployment at 9.2…

  • Tian Biao

    Sportspressnw has finally hit the big-time: the site has been discovered by mud-slingers and name-callers, complete with bad spelling and half formed sentences and long unreadable diatribes. BUT – i still haven’t read a counter-proposal that makes as much sense as Art’s. In fact sensible counter-proposals are in very short supply in this thread.

    • MWH

      Just make sure that you spell Art’s name correctly! :)

    • art thiel

      We’ve had a few trolls before, but this column has definitely flushed them out. It’s what a I get for advocating a cooperative solution instead of the nuclear winter of litigation.

  • MWH

    Art ==> I had heard that early in his NBA career David Stern was involved in the Spencer Haywood lawsuit. Is that true?

  • Hammtime

    This stuff is such poppy drama I can’t believe MTV, E! or some other network hasn’t picked this up for their next “reality” TV show!

  • Zen Moment

    Hansen has to get nasty and use the sale of the Kings as leverage to get an expansion team. Not 5 years down the road. And he cannot accept the statement “you will be first on the list when the league expands.” No. He has to demand a team when the new arena is ready. Nothing else will do. Then, if no back room guarantee given, he will fight tooth and nail to pursue his buying the team from the Maloofs.

    While I like Art’s idea, I think it is time to just cut to the chase and threaten them with a long ugly legal battle over the ownership issue. I don’t care if Stern counter threatens by saying Seattle will never get an NBA franchise — who cares? Let’s hit the mats on this one. It is the only way to keep these bastards honest. I believe Stern and NBA will cave and give Hansen the expansion team in 2015.

  • SeattleFan67

    This makes way too much sense. Probably doesn’t happen as a result.

  • jafabian

    I’m surprised no one has pointed out that his McDonald’s comparison doesn’t work since the Lakers and Clippers share the same arena.

    • art thiel

      The NBA approved it, because all franchisees give the league the right to make such decisions. In the LA case, they determined the market, and Staples Center, was big enough to support two teams without the hassle of building a second arena.

      Perhaps you’ve seen the luck the NFL has had in getting a new football stadium going in LA.

      • jafabian

        Oh, that’s a whole topic in itself!

  • Todd

    The 800lb gorilla in the room is the 525-550M valuation is grossly over paying for a NBA franchise in the Sacramento market. It’s viable in the Seattle market due to the larger population, TV contracts, much higher average income levels, etc. You don’t think the whales financial advisers are not continually pointing that out? giving away a large portion of your income to a colossal business fail is not the theme of wealthy people. Now if that $ was being donated and it qualified for tax deduction then it could make sense. This is investing $ in a suppressed market where you’re hoping people will spend more $ than they actually earn. Great investment!

    • politypop

      Yeah, I love watching the metropolis of Seattle flex its wealth infused muscles every time Safeco is left half empty, which is, you know, any time the M’s play. Helluva sports town you got there.

      • MarkS

        As a Seahawks season ticket holder I beg to differ. 42-13 over your Fortywhiners.
        Oddly the Mariners still make money. Put out a good team and the fans will show up. Over ten years of garbage teams at Safeco Field is not good business.

        • politypop

          No argument that Seattle is a football town. But it’s a football town only. And congrats on that one win. Seeing as how I live in Sacramento, I’m not sure why you’d feel the need to gloat over a San Francisco team, but congrats nonetheless. I’m sure it was a magical afternoon for you.

          • politypop

            To be fair, it’s a football and futbol town.

          • MarkS

            Probably because of the women at KJ’s press conference with a sign hammering the Seahawks. Add to that how many stories your paper carries about the 49ers.

          • politypop

            Ahhh, right…the whole ‘No NFC Title’ thing. Maybe a low blow, but also accurate. Shaun Alexander isn’t walking through that door, gentlemen. Jim Zorn isn’t driving his beetle through that door…

  • Michael Kaiser

    Art,

    I have not read any responses to my previous posting. I often do not when I figure I have pissed people off. Upon reflection, and I am not talking about the ridiculous anti-trust, tortious interference, and “procedural maneuver” stuff being bandied about, I think your idea is probably as “fair” as it gets. I have to realize I am biased. I want to see Seattle fall flat on its face in this matter and probably at least 10 other big matters for reasons beyond the scope of this discussion.
    Your idea would be somewhat similar, however, to what the Okies did with Seattle that so many people ultimately screamed foul about, but whatever. In fact, your idea is what Hansen should have done from the beginning. Buy the team and give Sacramento a year or two to come up with an arena. Hansen also almost certainly would not have had to deal with other prospective team owners swirling around, and I also am not sure if Kevin Johnson would have expended the same efforts he has. Now, however, it is probably impossible for Hansen to fly under the radar and get the Kings out of Sacramento, whether he obtains majority ownership or not. His mistake, as I have said a few times, was a variation of hubris and current Hootervillianism. He thought he could outmuscle Sacramento, the capital of, as I also have said, arguably the most powerful state in the country, and also one of the more powerful political entities in the world. And of course now the same fools are talking about how Hooterville can outmuscle the NBA too, but that is for another day. Now I am signing off of this soap opera, at least for a while. To go to California. And as I will be passing through Sacramento, I will send Hooterville’s love.

  • Michael Kaiser

    Oh, and Hansen would also have presented a much more sympathetic posture if he had given Sacramento a year or two.

  • RyanGrant

    The best solution is to give up and stop trying to work a deal with a league that isn’t an honest actor.

  • Michael Kaiser

    One last comment. I never can shut up. That I will concede. You need to reprint for your readers this week’s Sports Illustrated take on the battle for the Kings. Game, Set, Match. Why is there no one in Seattle who can seem to detach enough to see some of the things Sports Illustrated has laid in Chrystal Clear Stereo? And it now is over. Period.

  • http://keepkalm.com/ Kyle Alm

    That’s an interesting take on anti-trust, I just wonder if the NBA required owners to sign away their rights to sue the NBA back then as they do now, or if that even makes a difference. I had always been told that you can’t sign away your rights, but I’m not a lawyer either.

  • notaboomer
  • Alvin

    You make too much sense, Art!

  • seattlenative57

    Very interesting viewpoint, Art. I believe Hansen is in a favorable position vis-a-vis the purchase agreement and $30million deposit with the Maloofs. From the NBAs perspective, the fly in the ointment continues to be the Maloof’s refusal to deal with the SacTown investors. And from what I understand, the NBA cannot force them to agree to the SacTown deal. As you point out, the NBA has not fared well in litigation of this type. And I’m certain they do not wish to engage Hansen in litigation. It doesn’t make sense for any of the parties involved. I’m hoping a win-win-win solution is found. A solution which would save at least the same amount or more what litigation would cost.

  • seattlenative57

    NEWS FLASH: The NBA cannot force the Maloof’s to accept the SacTown investors sale proposal.

  • Da Kid

    It figures…May Day and you come up with a revolutionary suggestion. Well hey, every 237 years or so we get to break away from overseer oppression. Occupy Sacramento! Smash the NBA State!

    • art thiel

      Wondering when you would weigh in, comrade.

  • Sactown Rick

    Love all the dumping on Sacramento. Don’t you guys live in the suicide capital of the world? Hearing all your denial-laden chatter is like watching Fox News on Election Night 2012. Hansen may buy the Kings yet, he may re-name them the SuperSonics yet, but they’ll be the Sacramento SuperSonics.

  • politypop

    Art, if you’re so convinced that this week’s vote is the result of some nefarious David Stern vendetta against the people of Seattle, why not just have Hansen wait until Silver comes in and then pitch expansion as opposed to franchise horsetrading a couple years down the line? And insofar as legal action goes, I’m more impressed than others on this thread by the results of your Google search of ‘antitrust lawsuit Sonics’, but when Hansen agreed to buy the Kings he willingly signed onto a provision that makes it impossible to take legal action against the NBA as either an owner OR prospective owner. Hansen made two critical mistakes: he trusted the Maloofs and he underestimated the City of Sacramento, it’s citizens and government both. They are mistakes that, given the comments below, are still being made by the people of Seattle. The Maloofs may sell to Hansen yet, he may re-name them the SuperSonics yet, but they will be the Sacramento SuperSonics.

    • politypop

      …which by the way would still be awful. I can’t imagine Tyreke and Boogie wearing those split-pea soup colors.

  • Evergreen

    Art’s solution sounds like the best one I’ve heard. The only other one I can think of is that Hansen buys the team, gets McGinn to officially change Seattle’s name to Sacramento, then Hansen informs the NBA their moving to a new stadium in another part of town. Problem solved. Sacramento gets to keep it’s team – and we get to watch them play.

  • Larry Barr

    If it’s not too late (11 days later) I’ll throw my slight variation of a win-win-win out there…

    The NBA allows the H/B/N group to purchase and relocate the former Sacramento Kings and re-brand as the Seattle Sonics. (win for H/B/N/W and does no harm other parties)

    The NBA awards Sacramento/Randive group a 31st team in the NBA with the stipulation that an approved replacement for Sleep Train Arena break ground within a 12 to 18 months deadline. (with the possibility for extensions if needed if tied up in court) But ultimately if they can’t build: No Arena = No expansion, no replacement team. (Win for the Sac area, allows them time as your plan does to determine if they can really afford to continue with NBA participation and does not harm other parties)

    The NBA wakes up from it’s coma with respect to expansion vs. future possible anti-trust litigations from other cities and announces new guidelines to establish a new team including a $1 Billion dollar minimum bid amount with a 10 percent non-refundable deposit and an pre-approved Arena to play in as pre-requites for application. David Stern officially retires within 30 days for health reasons. (Still a win for the NBA, does no harm to Sacramento as their bid is already grandfathered in if they meet the pre-defined terms, otherwise a future application goes through the application process like any other city allowing them to determine in the future if they would like to try again. Protects the NBA’s current monopoly, and does not dilute revenue and maintains tight control on expansion. Does no harm to any other party. Existing NBA owners continue to get rich.)