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Breaking: Deal between Maloof family, Seattle’s Chris Hansen for Kings struck, to be announced

Jan 20, 2013, 10:26 PM EDT


While Sacramento will get a final shot to convince NBA owners that this is not something they want to approve, sources have told ProBasketballTalk that Seattle’s Chris Hansen is ready to announce a tentative agreement to purchase the Sacramento Kings in the coming days.

Following this come reports other teams have been notified of a sale, something PBT can confirm. The sale price is $525 million of which the new owners will get 65 percent.

Adrian Wojnarowski reported a week ago a deal between the Maloof family and Hansen was “at first and goal from the one,” and furthermore that the Kings moving to Seattle was a done deal. That report had been echoed by CSN Bay Area’s Matt Steinmetz and David Aldridge of, though each reporter left a little wiggle room in case the Maloofs changed their minds.

According to our sources, any deal sending the Kings to Seattle would not be a done deal because any deal would be subject to an approval by the NBA’s Board of Governors.  In addition, sources tell PBT that Sacramento has been approached by at least three groups of “heavy hitters.”  Sacramento could be getting close to announcing a group that meets NBA criteria that has the “vision to transform one of the NBA’s most proven markets into a top NBA franchise.”  This, they believe, will help win the NBA’s support for keeping the Kings in Sacramento.

As we’ve followed this story for the last two years, the city of Sacramento has bent over backwards to accommodate the Maloofs according to sources from all sides of the situation. One league source called their offer of public funds to build an arena for the Maloofs a “model offer of public funds,” and the NBA itself supported the failed deal from last year that the embattled Maloof family backed out of.

Since reports of the Kings’ move to Seattle have hit the net from very reputable sources, Sacramento has been firing on all cylinders in what has been a long-term initiative to respond in the event the Maloof family was willing to sell the team. Indeed, sources close to the situation in the California capitol have told PBT that preparing for this contingency has been a prime focus of the city, and that when it comes time to present Sacramento’s offer to the Board of Governors that they believe it will be a compelling and competitive offer.

It will be up to the Board of Governors — made up of the 29 other NBA owners — to make that determination.

We reported in September that Seattle’s Chris Hansen would need to put up more money to beat Sacramento’s offer, and that is one of the main sources of the city’s confidence according to sources speaking on condition of anonymity.

We calculated that an offer from Sacramento of $425-450 million for the overall price of the Kings franchise would put more money in the Maloofs’ pockets than the reported $525 million offer from Hansen, because a Sacramento owner would not need to worry about the Maloofs’ outstanding loan to Sacramento (~$75 million).  The city also doesn’t have to worry about the league’s relocation fee, which was $30 million when the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder, although the Board of Governors can set that fee at whatever level they wish. USA Today’s Sam Amick confirmed Sacramento’s target offer in his exclusive interview with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson last week.

The biggest point in Sacramento’s favor according to sources is the “model offer” of public funds itself, an offer that was in excess of $200 million in a California climate that normally doesn’t support public funds for sports facilities.

Sources close to the situation tell PBT that this, along with the league’s fear of another Sonicsgate, will be the deciding factors should Sacramento be able to provide an actionable offer that is competitive with Seattle.

The Maloofs themselves have reached the point where they have to sell the team, something that doesn’t really help their leverage. Their financial struggles are well documented and in May they asked their minority owners for a $10 million cash call. Along with the threat of having a lame duck year in Sacramento, nobody with knowledge of the situation has said that there is a realistic chance that the family decides not to sell.

This means that this story is coming to a head, and if the Board of Governors pushes the Maloofs toward the Sacramento offer they will have to listen. Because a Sacramento offer can put the same type of dollars in the family’s pockets, sources in Sacramento like the city’s chances to pull this out.

Favoring Seattle is the fact they have a larger television market than Sacramento (Seattle is 14th, Sacramento is 20th), and that a relocation fee assessed to Seattle could put money in each owners’ pockets, but Sacramento isn’t without ammunition here.  They have no competition from other sports teams and have a long and storied history of supporting their franchise.  They are also arguably further along in their arena building process, as Seattle is still facing two relatively toothless lawsuits and an environmental review while Sacramento’s arena deal was ready for approval last year.  In addition, as SB Nation’s Tom Ziller points out, there are several reasons that expansion could benefit the league and owners would also benefit from an expansion fee in that case as well, which would theoretically give the Hansen group a better price point to join the club.

Sacramento has been working for a long time and has not been caught off guard by the Maloofs’ intentions to sell. As long as Mayor Kevin Johnson can deliver the package he has been foreshadowing, it will be up to the league to decide whether or not they want to turn their back on Sacramento.

As usual, it comes down to showing the league the money. Fortunately for Sacramento, this is something that Mayor Johnson has a great track record with.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson will reportedly get that chance, but he’s going to have to convince the owners to reject a deal put before them. While those same owners did that in the case of a proposed Kings move to Anaheim, this may be a tougher pitch for Sacramento.

  1. glink123 - Jan 20, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    this is irresponsible journalism at it’s worst. to run a story saying a deal is “imminent”, after three previously reported imminent deals proved to be anything but, is just ignorant.

    • shen90 - Jan 20, 2013 at 11:31 PM

      How is it irresponsible? The deal is done. The only thing left is for it to be ratified by board of governors. Hansen and Maloofs have agreed to terms and deal is done.

    • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 21, 2013 at 1:27 PM


  2. Gordon - Jan 20, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    glink123…amen to that. This has been a recurring them on the NBC Sportstalk sites (PBT, PFT, HBT). They rationalize it by saying they are just passing along a report from someone else. Later on there will be a post contradicting this one.

    Then they have the nerve to talk about ESPN on ESPN reporting crimes. It’s getting to be comical.

  3. 00maltliquor - Jan 20, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    Chris Hansen?……as in, “why don’t you have a seat”, lemonade on the kichen counter, “why don’t you tell me why you’re really here”, preditor catchin’ Chris Hansen? I LOVE that guy!!

    • hojo20 - Jan 20, 2013 at 11:13 PM

      I got the chat log here, so you might as well just tell the truth.

    • fventricle - Jan 20, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      I hated being on his show, he always tricked me.

      • dannymac17 - Jan 21, 2013 at 3:56 AM

        I remember this one time I was getting gas, that crazy Hansen.

  4. shen90 - Jan 20, 2013 at 11:34 PM

    Can’t wait for the return of the I-5 Rivalry next year. As a Portland Native and life long Blazer fan some of my favorite memories are of Blazers kicking the snot out of the Sonics.

  5. shen90 - Jan 20, 2013 at 11:36 PM

    Just read the deal was finalized on the 14th. Just waiting for board of governors to meat to ratify it and set in motion relocation to Seattle.

  6. seattlesuperchronic - Jan 20, 2013 at 11:53 PM


    You are the undisputed champion of comments.

    I’m sorry this is happening to Sacramento fans, but I’m excited to have a team back in the city that owns the rights to my heart.

  7. jprcox - Jan 21, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    I live in Seattle, support the idea of getting a team back, but this is just downright WRONG. We were robbed when we lost the Sonics to OKC, and SAC is being straight up LYNCHED of a team they love and support as best they can. People need to revolt against the NBA – they are the bad people in all this. C. Hansen and people in Seattle rightfully want a team, but this leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.

    • rawgator06 - Jan 21, 2013 at 12:47 AM

      I have a lot of respect for Seattle fans that have this view. I am not a Kings or Sonics fans, but Seattle fans should know the pain of losing a team the most. With a new stadium and a rabid fan base, the NBA would definitely give the city an expansion team. A new team (with the SuperSonics name, of course) would be the best way to deal with the situation.

  8. rajbais - Jan 21, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    Now the Maloof Family Can pack their mayflowers!!!

    Sorry guys, but time to get out of town!!!

  9. jayquintana - Jan 21, 2013 at 12:35 AM

    Wasn’t it just yesterday that the Maloofs were printing money? Man, what a fall.

  10. seattlesuperchronic - Jan 21, 2013 at 12:42 AM


    I agree with you, but how else is Seattle supposed to get a team? Expansion should be out of the picture because the league is lopsided talent wise. What other option is there?

    • joenash72 - Jan 21, 2013 at 1:30 AM

      Another Seattle fan here. As I have posted in previous similar threads on here, I hope that Sacremento comes up with way to keep Kings. As tempting as it is to get Cousins, isiah Thomas, jimmer, etc vs. an expansion franchise, we here in Seattle know better than anyone how it feels to have team stolen away.

      While I still have my doubts about that arena deal based on giving away 30 or 50? years of future parking revenue, the potential deal that would involve the owners of a shopping mall sounds like it has legs. Maybe they could finance it similar to the way Seattle & King County are doing it up here for the Hansen group. Voters passed initiative a few years back that requires City to show a profit on any arena/stadium deals. So they are doing it in a way to comply with that ( though one of the two lawsuits mentioned is arguing that deal doesn’t accomplish this, so we”ll see).

      As far as expansion team, I’ve read recently that adding another team, while it would put league back to an odd # of teams, wouldn’t hurt scheduling. As far as diluting the talent, how would it be really much different than now, with Lakers and Miami, then everybody else (I know there’s celtics, Thunder(should be Sonics), etc.

  11. smcgaels1997 - Jan 21, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    Anyone who thinks this is a truly “done deal” is fooling yourself either that are delusional..this is step one, step 2 is relocation filing then 3 league review..If Sac has a competitive offer hard to see them saying Seattle its a go

    • shen90 - Jan 21, 2013 at 2:06 AM

      League already decided to ok it. Sac being allowed to present a counter is just out of respect. This is already a done deal that will receive unanimous approval. Sonics will be back in Seattle next season. The board would prefer to not even hear the counter and just confirm this already.

  12. trickybastard - Jan 21, 2013 at 1:49 AM

    @jprcox: bravo and well said
    @seattlesuperchronic: keep smoking that weed hypocrite. I’m starting to not feel bad your team was ripped with two-faced comments like that. As far as expansion goes, your arguments are weak

  13. joenash72 - Jan 21, 2013 at 2:05 AM

    King5 Seattle says deal is done. They also say Peter Vescey is expected be part of front office.

  14. joenash72 - Jan 21, 2013 at 2:07 AM

    ^^^ Peter Vescey reports that Phil Jackson be part ot front office.

    Phil likes the 206 :-)

    • joenash72 - Jan 21, 2013 at 3:52 AM

      Joenash72 likes the 206, too :) :) :)

  15. seattlesuperchronic - Jan 21, 2013 at 2:48 AM


    Hold on, buddy. Expansion is insane, the team Seattle would be getting is a prime example of terrible parity. There are more bad teams than good ones. In the eastern conference you get teams making the playoffs with below .500 records.

    If you read my first sentence, I agreed with jprcox, I was just asking how Seattle could get a team with out relocating a current franchise.

    I’m as empathetic as it gets when I read that Sacramento might lose their team, it stinks for them. I saw Seattle’s most storied franchise leave, so you can put that hypocrite nonsense in your tush, my friend. I can’t help that I’m happy there’s a chance a team that I grew up loving is being brought back.

    I will keep smoking that weed.

    • trickybastard - Jan 21, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      Uh, this wont be the team you grew up loving. That team is in Oklahoma. Just because you reword your statement doesn’t make you any less of a hypocrite.

      And I can tell you haven’t read the link I gave you on expansion showing your arguments are WEAK. Here, let me save you some weed induced laziness:

      As written by Tom Ziller – The best solution to the ongoing concern of the Sacramento Kings and Seattle SuperSonics is for the Kings to be sold to a Sacramento-based ownership group who will (unlike the Maloofs) participate in a previously agreed upon arena deal originally brokered by the city, AEG and the NBA in 2011. But Seattle certainly deserves a team, too. So the NBA should consider expansion for the 2014-15 season in Seattle.

      NBA fans all across the internet stampede to the comments of any piece that argues for expansion to rally against it. The reasons vary. The reasons are all bad.

      Here are a few.

      The league is already bloated!

      Yes, because it’s too hard to enjoy pro basketball when there are so many games on. Do we need fewer teams so y’all won’t be inconvenienced by the mere existence of a 31st team?

      The talent is diluted because of too many teams! We need fewer teams so talent is more concentrated.

      These arguments come from some of the same people who scream bloody murder when the Lakers try to trade for Chris Paul or successfully land Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. These arguments come from some of the same people who bitched about LeBron James joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The internet cannot have it both ways. You cannot wish that every team had a star and that there were fewer teams. You’re arguing against yourself.

      There are those who argue the talent dilution case without railing against super teams. But consider the stakes here. NBA teams have 12-15 players on their rosters, but 8-10 who actually play and — this is critical — up to three “big-time” players. Adding one team means we need three more “guys who play” to be “big-time” players. A 10 percent increase in high-quality players. That’s not difficult to imagine. The league is lousy with exceptional young players. Adding a team sees a small percentage of them freed in a macro sense. Look at it this way: there are currently 450 roster spots in the NBA. By expanding by one team, there would be 465 roster spots. The talent will eventually be redistributed — the 31st team would have players No. 451-465, of course — but are we really arguing that there’s a massive drop-off from No. 450 to No. 451? That’s insanity.

      In a micro sense … we’ll get to that.

      But you’d have to add two teams, meaning more dilution and potentially a weak East Coast market to keep things even.

      A. Dilution is not a serious concern. See above.

      B. The league absolutely does not have to expand by two teams. The NBA has regularly had spans with an odd number of teams, including from 1970-74 (17 teams) and from 1980 (when expansion to Dallas brought the league to 23 teams) through 2004 (when the Bobcats made it 30). During that span, the league added teams in twos and fours when adding them as single teams or in threes would have given the NBA conference balance. Guess what: the NBA traditionally hasn’t cared too deeply about conference balance!

      So it’s totally reasonable to believe that the NBA could expand only to Seattle, giving the West 16 teams, and likely giving the Northwest Division a sixth team.

      Teams will oppose Seattle expansion because it will cut into their share of the TV revenue pot.

      Here is a comprehensive list of times in the modern era (which has seen expansion from 22 in 1976 with the ABA merger to 30) that the NBA Board of Governors has voted down a proposal to expand:


      NBA team owners are not generally opposed to growing the NBA business. Further, (re-)adding a top-15 market while keeping a nation’s largest monogamous NBA market (Sacramento, which has no other major league sports teams or major college programs yet is the No. 20 media market in the country) — that’s good business.

      But the TV revenue pot! Instead of 30 teams divvying up $900 million, it’d be 31 teams.

      Yes, yes it would. Which is the difference between $30 million from national TV and $29 million from national TV. Which is a big ol’ plate of beans.

      Further, the NBA will soon be opening up its TV deal for bid. Having a team back in Seattle helps boost that bottom line, especially if Sonics fans are as rabid as they seem like they certainly will be.

      But the expansion team will steal young players from bad teams who need them.

      This is the micro point about talent dilution. The Sonics would definitely get at least two high draft picks, but in every draft they are quality players who aren’t picked in the top three. If those bad teams can’t find one, that’s on them. And come on, ping pong balls help decide who gets Blake Griffin and who gets Hasheem Thabeet. Let’s not Butterfly Effect this, okay?

      Further, look at the 2004 expansion draft. Gerald Wallace was the only player who ever made an All-Star team … and he was taken from one of the two best teams in the NBA (the Kings). And if the Kings didn’t have a deep roster, he would have been protected from the draft and the Bobcats would have instead ended up with Doug Christie or someone. Teams can protect their top seven players, so the Bobcats aren’t going to lose Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The Thunder could lose Jeremy Lamb, though. Talent dilution!

      But the Maloofs are going to get $500 million from Seattle. How do you make them whole?

      There are some creative solutions here. Sacramento bidders are planning to offer $450 million and inherit local debt, which will even out the bids from that city and Seattle in terms of take-home for the Maloofs. There’s no need to “screw” the Maloofs by expanding to Seattle — this can be a negotiated matter at the Board of Governors level. And the expansion fee for Seattle can be upwards of $400 million, helping lubricate the deal. (The Seattle folks are still catching a break.) Some portion of the expansion fee could potentially offset any lower take-home for the Maloofs. The Bobcats’ expansion fee was $300 million, and the Seattle people are ready to spend $500 million. There’s room to figure something out there.

      The NBA would never expand so close to a lockout in which contraction was threatened.

      Yes, because NBA owners would never ever ever produce remarkable hypocrisy. Uh huh.

  16. smcgaels1997 - Jan 21, 2013 at 3:29 AM

    What’s the difference in the Kings and expansion team in terms if competitiveness ? There’s NO reason not to expand by one..none except stubbornness

  17. sw19womble - Jan 21, 2013 at 3:32 AM

    All this could have been involved if Stern had just given Clay Bennett an expansion team…

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 21, 2013 at 8:22 AM

      IF it had not been Seattle it would have been San Jose or Kansas City or other spots. This was the Maloofs doing.

  18. joenash72 - Jan 21, 2013 at 3:43 AM

    Maloofs get $30 million non-refundable from Hansen group by 2/1. That means Hansen group has assurance of some sort from NBA Does BOG let Kings go to Seattle and then Sacremento ownership group gets to buy expansion team? I guess that works in a way, but why not leave that frannchise in place and sell the expansion franchise to Hansen? Nba will have extorted new arena from both locals either way, and avoid taking players fans are tied to, as we went through losing Durant and Westbrook with Sonics…

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 21, 2013 at 8:22 AM

      The NBA has no expansion plans at this time.

  19. 6stn - Jan 21, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    That franchise has gone coast-to-coast. The Rochester Royals-Cincinnati Royals-Kansas City-Omaha Kings (after a few years, just Kansas City Kings)-Sacramento Kings-Seattle Kings, Sonics, Starbuckets, Pilots, Co-Pilots.

  20. swu32733 - Jan 21, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Leave it to the Portland fan to inject hatred into the equation.

  21. MyTeamsAllStink - Jan 21, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    Well one positive to come from this is that Ice Cube song will make sense again.

  22. tiennguyen645 - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Clipper should relocatetion too when talking about LOS ANGELES every one remember LAKER even CLIPPER really good this year

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