Fate of the Sacramento Kings to be decided today in Dallas

Vivek Ranadivé (Left), Chris Hansen (Right) - Photos: Morgan Ragan

For the last 28 months, we here at Cowbell Kingdom have had the privilege of covering the most interesting bad basketball team in the NBA.  That’s how long we have been mired in relocation chatter – 28 months.  We have covered the Anaheim fiasco, the attempt to build a new arena in the Rail Yards, the Virginia Beach situation and now the battle with Seattle.

I would love to tell you that this is what we live for.  Riding the 24 hour news cycle, developing an addiction to twitter and paying over-sized phone bills sounds appealing to some, but after this much time, we are dreaming of the day when basketball is king (forgive the pun).  We long to cover a front office search, followed by a coaching search, then the draft and free agency.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.  Today is the day when we will most likely find out the fate of the Sacramento Kings.  Will they move to Seattle?  Will the NBA’s Board of Governors turn down Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer?  Will the Maloof family sell to Vivek Ranadivé, Mark Mastrov and a whole slew of other potential owners in Sacramento if they Hansen-Ballmer group is turned away?

All of these questions should be answered today in a posh conference room of a Dallas, Texas hotel.  We have done this dance before, but the end is near this time, we promise.  Here is what we know going into today’s meetings which start at 11:00am PST.

What we know so far from Seattle

  • Chris Hansen, Steve Ballmer and the Nordstrom family have what they are calling a legally binding contract with the Maloof family and fellow general partner Bob Hernreich to purchase a 65-percent majority ownership of the Kings for a valuation of $625 million or roughly $406 million.  In addition to the $406 million, the Hansen-Ballmer group has also promised a relocation fee of $115 million that would be split amongst the NBA owners.
  • If relocation is turned down, the Hansen-Ballmer group has a back-up offer to purchase 20 percent of the Kings general partnership stake from the Maloof family for $125 million, where they would become co-owners of the Sacramento Kings.
  • A $30 million non-refundable deposit has been paid to the Maloof family as part of the contract.
  • Hansen has a $15.1-million deal to purchase Bob Cook’s 7-percent stake of the team from a California bankruptcy court. Hansen still needs NBA’s approval to purchase the stake in the Kings franchise.
  • The Hansen-Ballmer group has a $490 million arena deal in place to build a new home for the Sonics in the SoDo district of Seattle.
  • There are hurdles that need to be cleared, including a longshoremen’s lawsuit and an I-90 review.  The validity of these two suits are unknown at this time, but the longshoremen have already been turned down by one judge.  These items will heat up in earnest once an environmental impact study is completed in November.

    What we know so far from Sacramento

    • An ownership group led by Golden State Warriors Vice Chairman Vivek Ranadivé, 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, the Jacobs family of Qualcomm fame and four others have an offer on the table of roughly $341 million ($525 million valuation) to purchase and keep the team in Sacramento.
    • The ownership group and city of Sacramento have a term sheet for a new $448-million arena that would be built at the site where the Downtown Plaza currently resides.  Sacramento City Council voted 7-2  to approve $258 million in public subsidies between bonds backed by the city’s parking asset and a handful of city-owned properties.
    • A complaint was filed yesterday claiming that the City has has undervalued items in the term sheet in an attempt to “sweeten” the deal for the investors hoping to purchase the team.  The validity of the claims against the city are not known at this time.

    What we know from the NBA

    • The NBA will first vote on relocation.  To move the team from Sacramento to Seattle, the Hansen-Ballmer group need a simple majority of the 30 NBA Board of Governor members.  The relocation committee voted 7-0 on April 29 to recommend that the Kings stay in Sacramento.  Hansen will need 16 votes to move the team to Seattle.
    • If the Hansen-Ballmer group is approved for relocation, they need a three-fourths majority vote to approve their new ownership bid.  Sacramento needs eight no votes from the NBA’s Board of Governors to block the sale of the team to the Hansen-Ballmer group.
    •  If the Hansen-Ballmer group is turned down for both controlling interest and the 20 percent minority stake in the club, the Maloof family will then make a decision on whether to accept the Sacramento “back-up offer”.  If the offer is accepted, the NBA Board of Governors will once again hold a vote on the Ranadivé-Mastrov ownership bid.  That bid would also need a 75 percent majority vote to pass.

    This should be the end of the line for this saga.  The real stumbling block remaining for the Sacramento group is whether or not the Maloof family will take their substantially lower bid if the Seattle offer is rejected.  Hold onto your hats, today will be a historic day in one city and a day that will live in infamy for the other.

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