Unless there is another delay, the NBA Board of Governors will take a final vote on the Kings sale Wednesday in Dallas. According to multiple reports, the NBA has not changed its position on keeping the Kings in Sacramento despite Chris Hansen’s recent spate of pot sweeteners, leaving one major question remaining:
Who will own the Kings?
The Seattle group led by Hansen, Steve Ballmer and the Nordstroms, which has bid a record valuation of $625 million (up from the original $525 million) could own the team.
Silicon Valley billionaire Vivek Ranadive’s group, which has bid $100 million less, could take over ownership from the Maloofs.
Or, the Maloofs could retain ownership of the franchise by selling 20 percent of it to Hansen, et al (introduced Saturday).
If the Maloofs would only sell to Ranadive’s group, the battle for the Kings would be a done deal and make David Stern a happy almost ex-commissioner. The Kings would remain in Sacramento and Seattle would have to wait either for another flailing franchise to become available, or expansion. If Stern is as good as his word, and he isn’t, expansion is out of the question.
If the Maloofs keep the Kings and sell 20 percent to Hansen, the deal would have to be approved by 75 percent of the league’s owners. It’s uncertain the Maloofs can get to 75 percent, considering that Hansen’s long-term goal is to get a team to Seattle. Hansen as a minority owner in Sacramento probably strikes NBA owners as the equivalent of having a squatter on the premises.
But if the owners don’t give the Maloofs 75 percent approval, they still cannot force him to sell to Ranadive.
It’s always possible, if unlikely, that Hansen has influenced enough owners to vote his way by communicating directly with them Wednesday, after doing an end-run around the league office over the past two weeks.
It’s also possible that Hansen is confident enough that Sacramento’s arena plan won’t fly and that he would buy a 20 percent stake in the franchise, subject to NBA approval, and simply wait for the arena plan to collapse, which would be Stern’s greatest nightmare.
However it goes, it should down today. Art of Sportpress Northwest has written extensively about this issue. Check out his archive here, after which you are invited to answer our question: