Sacramento Kings: The Maloofs are Bad for Business and Bad for Basketball

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Apr 17, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings fans hold up a sign during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Sleep Train Arena. The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Sacramento Kings 112-108. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings’ relocation saga continued into the evening hours Monday in New York, where reports of the 12 owners who are part of the Financial/Advisory committee for the NBA, met through a phone conference intended to solidify and discuss the NBA financial committee’s recommendation that the Kings stay in Sacramento.

Nothing was released by the NBA regarding the outcome of the teleconference. However, the short duration of the conference in conjunction with the previous decision that the Kings are to stay in Sacramento suggests that the conversation between the 12 owners who met was merely one that ended with no new recommendations.

With the Hansen-Ballmer group recently increasing their offer for a third time to a reported $406 million and in combination with the Maloof family leaking that they are not willing to make a deal with the Sacramento based investment group headed by Vivek Ranadive, Seattle’s investors seem willing to do anything they can to attempt to go around the NBA. The Seattle investment group has essentially attempted to turn the relocation and sale of an NBA franchise into a bidding war, something that NBA Commissioner David Stern has openly spoken against.

In addition to the Seattle group’s increased offer to buy the team, the Hansen-Ballmer group has also stated that they would pay a relocation fee of $116 million, nearly four times the league mandated $30 million minimum required to move a team. This could be the Hansen-Ballmer group’s attempt to help alleviate a portion of the Maloof family’s debt to the NBA and the city of Sacramento.

The Maloofs are said to owe over $126 million to the NBA as well as owing the city of Sacramento approximately $76 million for the Sleep Train Arena (formerly ARCO Arena). Both debts would be be required to be paid in full before any sale of the Kings could occur, raising the current price of the Kings to an NBA record setting $732 million.

This is an unheard of number for the sale of a small-market team, and if the NBA were to accept the Seattle based offer and rule against the NBA’s relocation committee’s decision against relocating the Kings, it would set a new precedent in the sale and relocation of a team. Sacramento’s loyal 28- year commitment to the NBA would seem mostly irrelevant and would essentially show that the league is susceptible to bidding wars.

The sale of the Kings may arguably be something that ends up being settled in the court of law regardless of what happens in New York at the NBA Board of Governors’ second meeting regarding the current relocation issue.

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