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LeBron James tweets Kings sale shows owners doing fine

Jan 21, 2013, 11:03 AM EDT

Miami Heat LeBron James looks on during the first half of their NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland Reuters

It was one of the mantras of the players and their union during the lockout — the NBA owners claim poverty and lost money but they never talk about the increased value of the franchise during their ownership and the profits from that.

The Maloofs bought the Kings 15 years ago in 1998 for $156 million.

The value of the franchise for the purpose of this sale is $525 million (the Maloofs are only selling their 53 percent share of the team, another minority owner is selling his share so the Seattle group will have 65 percent of the team, more than a controlling interest).

That led LeBron James to tweet this.

You can bet a lot of players and agents are nodding their heads in agreement. LeBron also threw a nod out to the fans of Sacramento, who are getting screwed in this process by bad owners who killed every stadium deal that came their way to keep the team in the California capital.

  1. shaner329 - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    If only the world could go back to the days where news stories weren’t generated from tweets.

  2. mazblast - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    It hurts me deeply to have to agree with LeBron on anything, but that first tweet is spot on.

    • andrewproughcfe - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:45 AM

      Very fitting that this is one of the last official league acts that David Stern will preside over – a money grab by billionaires.

    • caseybojangles - Jan 21, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      its only spot on if team owners sell their team every year to cash in on their team…assuming of course that the team appreciates in value every year.

      please know the difference between being a profitable business (actually making money from business operations) and the increase in PAPER value of your asset…which is not realized until you decide to sell the asset. yeah…the maloofs made money on their investment over 15 years but that doesn’t mean the business is profitable.

  3. lakerryan - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    The NBA never had a lookout

  4. mgscott - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Good looking out

  5. DonRSD - Jan 21, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    LeBron = The Poser Exposer.
    LET’S GO HEAT!!!

  6. eventhorizon04 - Jan 21, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    As Bill Simmons’ pointed out – during the lockout, the NBA was claiming teams were losing money and the health of the NBA was in jeopardy…yet they also had a *waiting list* of billionaires who want to buy teams.

    You could argue that the big sale of the Memphis Grizzlies was due in part to that team being top-10 in the NBA. However, *this* sale demonstrated how much more valuable NBA franchises have become in the past decade – even franchises who have gotten *worse* over the past decade instead of better.

    The owners are doing fine. And if they aren’t doing fine, they can easily sell their franchises at a significant profit if they’ve owned the team for at least 10 years (during which time, the NBA’s reach has expanded worldwide).

    • caseybojangles - Jan 21, 2013 at 3:20 PM

      what a silly comment comparing two things that have nothing to do with one another. now i don’t have much sympathy for NBA team owners…all of whom are doing pretty well…but don’t confuse wanting to ensure that one’s business is profitable and the person or entity that owns the business.

      is there a waiting list of billionaires wanting to own NBA teams? let’s say there is. so what? so does that mean that just because they’re billionaires, they should run the team (read: the business) with financial losses each year because they can? what a dumb concept. every business deserves to be profitable and if they aren’t, they should do what they can to become profitable. not every team can be in a major market like the lakers or knicks or celtics. but these major market teams know if the small markets can’t be profitable, its bad for the league which in turn is bad for them.

      • bowens3181 - Jan 21, 2013 at 3:35 PM

        Here is the problem with your comment: While there is nothing wrong with no wanting to lose money, in reality the owners weren’t actually losing money, because while they might have been losing small amounts of money in the short term, their franchise values were skyrocketing at the same time.
        For example, while the Maloofs might be able to claim that they lost on average 10 million a year (completely hypothetical, I have no clue what the KIngs financials are) which would add up to around a $150 million loss over the 15 years, the franchise itself is now worth almost $400 million more than when they purchased it. So while the owners can bitch and moan about losing money, the Maloofs ended up making $250 million (hypothetically) over the 15 years they owned the team. That is no chump change.

      • caseybojangles - Jan 21, 2013 at 3:51 PM


        bro…i 100% understand what you are saying. this is basically what LBJ is saying too. there is a fundamental flaw in the logic though. again, we both don’t know if the kings are actually profitable or not. with that said, let’s talk in generalities.

        so what you are saying is that it should be acceptable for every business owner to lose money each and every year of operating a business with the mere *hope* that the business itself will appreciate in value for them to sell 15 or 20 years later? really? how is that logical? some points related to pro team ownership

        1. using your hypothetical number of $10M loss/year (which we both stipulate that we do not know for sure applies to the Kings). so an owner should foot this bill each year just because he can?

        2. what if the owner kept the franchise for more than 40 years…wouldn’t that negate this strange business ownership theory? should every owner be forced to sell just to make money on his business?

        3. wouldn’t the asset be worth MORE if the business was profitable?

        4. isn’t there a theoretical ceiling to the value of a business? i mean you can’t keep the buy it at $X, hold for 10-15 years, sell for $X+$400M model in perpetuity, right? logically you see that. the kings may be worth $500M today…do you think they will be worth $1B in 10 years? maybe. $1.5B in 20 years? maybe. $2B in 30 years (laughable though)? maybe. but keep going on this trend and the answer is eventually no.

  7. zblott - Jan 21, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Here’s a basic primer on how obvious it was before we lost part of last season that there’s no way a logical thinking human could side with the owners:

  8. iamjimmyjack - Jan 21, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Says the player who is worth over 100 million dollars…

  9. hojo20 - Jan 21, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Amen Lebron!

  10. dareesecpa - Jan 21, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    I’m glad LeBron is so concerned about the fans. The same concern he had when he never recruited players to Cleveland, the same concern when he didn’t let the owner know he was leaving until it was announced on TV, the same concern he gave the Cleveland fans when he waited until it was too late for the franchise to try to recover from the loss of the best player in basketball.

    We’ll see how much concern he has for the fans of Miami when he takes his talents elsewhere in 2014. And yes, I know, it won’t be to Cleveland.

    • southbeachtalent - Jan 21, 2013 at 5:12 PM

      We,in Miami, understand LeBron is actually a free man and after his contract obligations have been met he will have the option of playing else where. The banners he left will hang forever. Having the privilege of watching the BOAT by driving 10 minutes will last a life time.

    • jt1138 - Jan 21, 2013 at 9:10 PM

      Really? This again?

      Let’s look at the “help” the Cavs got LeBron, shall we?:

      1. Mo Williams

  11. Jeff - Jan 21, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    Dude takes the money and runs from the Mickey Mouse networks, wins a championship and he’s still sour.
    Man his critics are right, he is a cry baby.

  12. reverendolaf - Jan 21, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Is it too much to ask that an annual rate of return be included in addition to listing the values? LeBron’s argument has merit at first glance, then you see:

    .53 x 525,000,000 = 278,000,000

    So assuming the Maloofs hadn’t already sold part of the team to bring their equity down to 53%, their 156,000,000 grew to 278,000,000 over 15 years. That’s a 78% rate of return, annualized down to 3.92%. For comparisons’ sake, the S&P had a rate of return of 55% the past 15 years, but a diversified portfolio or one managed could have earned more. Lebron’s money manager, assuming he’s not some friend, likely would have been fired for earning less than 4% a year. Hell, back then an annuity would have guaranteed that much, if not more.

    Granted they may have taken dividends, and they did enjoy the benefits of team ownership, so this isn’t a complete analysis, but really would it have been hard to throw that in to complement the wisdom of his majesty King James and some one sided figures?

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