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Sources: Sacramento Kings to Seattle not a done deal just yet

Jan 9, 2013, 3:09 PM EDT

George Maloof

The ongoing joke about the Maloofs in league circles is that they can get the girl’s phone number, but they can’t close the deal.

After Adrian Wojnarowski’s report that the Maloofs are close to finalizing a $500 million deal with Seattle billionaire Chris Hansen, closing a deal shouldn’t be a problem this time, but there are plenty of reasons to not call it a “done deal” just yet.

Wojnarowski said as much when he tweeted “No agreement signed, but one source describes deal as “1st and goal at 1.” Maloofs history of changing course late still makes many uneasy.”

Indeed, sources close to the situation told PBT that there are still many hurdles for this deal to overcome, and that Sacramento still has willing, reputable buyers ready to meet or beat Hansen’s offer in order to keep the franchise in town.

Indeed, as reported here numerous times, Hansen would have to drastically overpay in order to outdo the Sacramento ownership groups, because Sac owners don’t have to account for a relocation fee, a city loan back to Sacramento, and the hard costs of moving. Sources say that this will total a minimum of $125 million, and should the NBA decide they want to levy a higher relocation fee to even out the playing field that number could increase.

This means that if the Maloofs sell to Hansen for $500 million, that in reality they are getting much, much less. In Sacramento, this means that it’s time for their local buyers to step up with their offers, and make the same effort the city made in the spring of 2011 when the Maloofs had most believing the team would move to Anaheim.

An offer of $425-$450 million dollars would start to put more money in the Maloofs’ pockets than the Seattle offer does, and that’s where the next step in this relocation debacle lies.

If there is any silver lining to today’s events for Kings fans and Sacramento, the Maloofs should be willing to entertain a bidding war, unless it is out of pure spite and indifference to any league reaction opposing such actions.

There are other hurdles for the deal to clear, including an up-or-down vote from the Board of Governors after a recommendation by the league’s relocation committee, headed up by none other than Clay Bennett. Bennett saw firsthand the difference in how the Seattle politicians turned their back on the Sonics when he arrived, independent of his and the league’s mishandling of that situation, and he has been extremely impressed with Sacramento’s efforts to keep their team.

However, David Stern has said he would try expedite any sale that moves a team to Seattle.

Hansen and the Maloofs will need to convince Bennett and the other 29 owners that torching the No. 20 Sacramento market, along with all of the negative attention the league’s relocation behavior will receive, will be worth the incremental benefit of going to a somewhat larger market with a handful of professional sports teams.

There are plenty of benefits to being in Seattle, and Hansen is the type of owner that they want. He and his group are about to throw nearly a billion dollars to obtain a franchise that Forbes valued at $300 million. And there is some sentiment that Seattle needs to be indemnified for what happened to them, though most sane people would say that two wrongs don’t make a right.

In Sacramento, this is the ultimate show us your hand moment. Look for mayor Kevin Johnson and his people to respond soon, and as we know with the Maloofs if there is anybody that can’t close a deal – it is them.

UPDATE: CBS 13’s Stephen Large reports that the Maloofs have rejected Hansen’s $500 million offer, and mayor Johnson has tweeted his previously successful message of “It’s not over.” This now has the look of a bidding war, and we’re likely in the end game with two cities being dragged through the mud at the same time.

UPDATE II: The Sacramento Bee’s Ryan Lillis tweeted “Talks related to #NBAKings sale have been ‘conceptual,’ source tells The Bee. Reports sale is done are premature.” Buckle up folks, this story has already hit ludicrous speed in just about every way imaginable.

  1. gpatrick15 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    If the deal is really that close, it’s hard to see it falling apart, even with the Maloofs’ being involved. Hansen has been at the forefront of all this relocation talk for a long time, AND he’s willing to overpay to seal the deal. He’s been determined to make this happen, and I see him getting it done.

  2. smcgaels1997 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    Multiple sources indicate there are local buyers willing to meet the same offer to keep the team in town ..why move then?

    • cbt22 - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      More money for the NBA to stuff its pocket with in Seattle.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      to screw Sacramento…………

      I hope Seattle can one day get a team again.

  3. badintent - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    KING 5 is reporting it IS a done deal now ! Kings to Seattle.. Sorry Kevin, you gave it a good effort but Seattle is a world class city with both NFL and MLB, will add NHL too. Go Hawks.

  4. pricejustin24 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Sacramento doesn’t deserve a team

  5. blueintown - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    If small market teams want to survive and thrive in professional sports leagues they should adopt the Green Bay Packers model of public, community ownership. Period.

  6. smcgaels1997 - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Sacramento doesn’t deserve a team? Your a moron

  7. jedicurt - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    If this does happen…

    I’m a season ticket holder for the OKC Thunder, and i will give my two tickets away to any Kings fan who wants to go to the game when the Seattle team is playing here, as long as they wear their Kings gear and make a massive sign that says something like, “You Stole Our Team” or “Kingsgate”, etc…

    Time for them to know how ridiculous the last few years have been!

  8. 06mustang - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    I was thinking if they did move the team it would be rebranded The Supersonics. But think about it, Seattle is located in King county, the old stadium was called the Kingdome, and Seattle is some kind of King city. So doesn’t it make sense to just keep the name Kings? Would save money on new uniforms!

    • cosanostra71 - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      Seattle is the Emerald City.

  9. beavertonsteve - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    I was hoping for Sacramento to find a way to keep the Kings, but an NBA team is worth different values in different markets. While the Seattle group is paying more for the team, they are also getting a team located in the 14th largest TV market instead of Sacramento at #20. Seattle comes in at #14 on the income per household list while Sacramento comes in at #40.

  10. thaoption1 - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    I lived in Seattle for 6years that city needs a team ASAP. The fan base out there marvelous and the BIG money wigs reside s up there in the Pacific Northwest. Shout Out to S Will KPritt ill be back soon

  11. thaoption1 - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    The fans of Seattle should blame Howard Schultz for being a greedy pig and knowing nothing about running a NBA team. This isn’t coffee you jerk. Then he sold the team to a man who’s intentions who to move Seattle to Oklahoma all along. Even tho he knows what he’s doing because he got the right ppl in place to run it for him.

  12. thebigcaptain2011 - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    Aaron’s work on this saga has been second to none.
    This is far from a done deal. I doubt the 29 other owners even approve this sell. There will be a local buyer, the Kings will stay and Seattle will be getting an expansion team within the next 5 years.

  13. MyTeamsAllStink - Jan 9, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    The Maloofs are being offered 500 mill for a franchise not even close to being worth that?Take it boys

  14. jprcox - Jan 9, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    I’m from Seattle, and even though we want a team, if SAC wants the Kings to stay as much as it seems – it doesn’t seem right. We were screwed by Clay Bennett – but no one wants to stick it to SAC.

    Isn’t there another team where the city is not as supportive of their NBA team we could move to Seattle?? SAC sure seems like they want to keep the Kings, and why the heck would they have them ripped away like that.

    So I am in Seattle, a fan, and I DON’T want to TAKE SAC’s team – NOT RIGHT!

  15. orivar - Jan 9, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Oklahoma & David Stern started a new area of teams being moved from where they belong. Matter as well bring the Golden State Warriors back to PA while we’re at it.

  16. midwestwarrior - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    shaq should join an ownership group and buy them, he could rename them the queens for real

    • MyTeamsAllStink - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:44 PM

      And relocate them to San Francisco

  17. seattle2013 - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:20 PM

    I live in Seattle and I’m with jprcox. Not worth it to poach another team at the expense of a fan base that supports them. It left a foul taste in our mouth when the NBA screwed us and it will leave a foul taste in Sac. Stern and Clay can suck on it.

  18. mazblast - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:34 PM

    Do I detect the sweet smell of hypocrisy coming from Sacramento and Seattle?

    Darned right I do. Seattle isn’t complaining because it may get a relocating franchise, but (rightfully) screamed when its old team moved. Sacramento will scream, but conveniently forgets that the franchise was a carpetbagger from Kansas City.

    Other teams that were once located elsewhere (and this is not necessarily a full list)–Philadelphia, Detroit, Golden State, Atlanta, Clippers, Lakers, Houston, Brooklyn, Washington, Utah, New Orleans, and Memphis. Added to the Kings and Thunder, that’s nearly half the league.

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