Bill Sutton, a former NBA marketing vice-president who is now a Tampa-based business consultant, told the Sacramento Bee Friday night that Chris Hansen’s increased offer to purchase the Sacramento Kings — now at an NBA record $625 million valuation — could “change the landscape” for Wednesday’s meeting in Dallas when NBA owners will vote on the team’s future.
“I’ve said all along that if things were equal, the team would stay in Sacramento,” Sutton told The Bee. “But here is a clear-cut attempt to make sure things are not equal. Is Sacramento going to up its bid? Is there any more money in Sacramento?”
The move by Hansen — see Art Thiel’s latest on the development — increases pressure on NBA owners to consider rejecting the relocation committee’s unanimous vote to keep the Kings in Sacramento. It also may force the NBA to reconsider its statements that it will not consider expansion.
Within 15 minutes of Hansen’s announcement that he was adding an additional $75 million to his previous offer of $550 million, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson e-mailed a response, saying, “we’re confident about the position we’re in right now. The NBA leadership and ownership have always said that their decision would not be dictated by a bidding war.”
It would appear a little late for that sentiment, since the Sacramento group before the relocation vote agreed to kick back to the NBA its portion of annual revenue sharing once the team moves into its proposed arena downtown.
“This was always about whether Sacramento, a community that has supported the NBA for 28 years, can put together a plan and organization to ensure the franchise can rebuild and thrive.”
Thanks to Hansen’s latest ante-raising move, it’s about whether NBA owners really want to say no to a guy willing to spend $625 million for a team, especially considering that the Memphis Grizzlies sold in October for $377 million. It’s also about whether Sacramento is willing and able to increase its $525 million bid.
A question still unanswered is whether the NBA will even vote on Hansen’s latest bid. After Hansen previously increased his offer by $25 million, the NBA apparently didn’t take that into account when it voted no on relocation.
It will be difficult for NBA owners Wednesday to ignore Hansen’s latest bid. Although the NBA said it doesn’t want a bidding war, everybody knows that a bidding war is in the best interest of all owners.
Chris Hansen has given the NBA a difficult problem — but a good one, although not so much for Sacramento. Which begs our question.