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David Stern says Sacramento group needs to up offer for Kings

Mar 8, 2013, 11:58 PM EDT

David Stern AP

Of late there has been growing momentum for Sacramento in its fight to keep the Kings. Mayor Kevin Johnson has helped bring together a bid led by 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov (who was second in the bidding for the Warriors a couple years ago) and supermarket magnate Ron Burkle. The plan calls for the construction of a new arena in downtown Sacramento.

But it’s still a negotiation. And NBA commissioner David Stern is good at the negotiations part.

Friday night Stern spoke and there was good news for Sacramento fans: Stern said that a comparable offer from Sacramento might well sway the owners to vote to keep the team in Sacramento.

The bad news is Stern said the offer currently on the table from Sacramento is not good enough.

“I think it’s fair to say without telling any secrets that the offers are not comparable,” Stern said Friday night. (Thanks to our man Aaron Bruski, who has written on this story a lot at PBT and sent me the audio file of Stern’s remarks.)

Stern was in Oakland to watch the Warriors get in a track meet with the Rockets. He spoke to the media before the game and a contingent of Sacramento media made the drive to the coast to pepper him with questions. Stern used the opportunity to put a little pressure on Sacramento.

Stern went on to say that if the Sacramento offer doesn’t improve it will not go before the owners.

“I have an expectation, a hope, that the variance will be eliminated by the time the owners give it consideration…” Stern said.

“(The Sacramento offer has) strong people behind it but not quite there compared to Seattle bid.”

It’s a negotiation folks and David Stern is going to get the most money he can for his franchise, wherever it comes from. Don’t take these comments as a sign that Seattle is far ahead of Sacramento, take this as a sign David Stern wants to jack up the sale price.

It will probably work. Look what Mastrov told the AP.

The offer from Sacramento was never going to be as high as from Seattle because it would not have to repay the $77 million loan (with penalties) from the city the Maloofs were given. But the number the league was given did not win over Stern. Yet.

The Maloof family that owns the team has a deal in place to sell the franchise to a well-funded Seattle group led by hedge fund guy Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

In the end it is not David Stern or the Maloofs that make the final call — the NBA Board of Governors (made up of the other 29 owners) will vote on this. Stern all but outright said if the BOG votes for the Sacramento offer that he expects the Maloof family will fall in line and sell.

That vote will come April 18-19 in New York City. Up until then it is an ongoing negotiation.

  1. mazblast - Mar 9, 2013 at 12:40 AM

    The Board of Governors is a sham. They’ll vote for whatever Little Caesar tells them is “best”, meaning whatever puts more money into the league’s (and maybe his) coffers.

  2. liddogg33 - Mar 9, 2013 at 1:16 AM

    Lets assume for a second that Sacramento actually has a chance in this (one of the most powerful men in the world have a legal, binding, slam dunk purchase and sale agreement in hand thus destroy the city of Sacramento’s chance of retaining the kings) and assume it becomes a bidding war. What’s to stop the whales (BALMER AND HANSEN) to simply outbid the minnows (mastrov and burkle)????

  3. thetooloftools - Mar 9, 2013 at 1:18 AM

    This is a “spite” move by Seattle. Say good by to the Kings because everything in Seattle is named “King” and it’s a perfect fit.

  4. deavn - Mar 9, 2013 at 1:36 AM

    Well, at least there’s 3 other teams in California.

    • badintent - Mar 9, 2013 at 10:46 PM

      And two of the have much better records than the Lakers.Next question

  5. dannymac17 - Mar 9, 2013 at 2:41 AM

    Stern basically is trying to raise rent on an entire town.

  6. pistolpete0903 - Mar 9, 2013 at 3:10 AM

    As much as I would like to have the Kings in Sac-town, it would be better off if the franchise moves away. With the economy in CA that bad, it ain’t much.
    And at the end of the day, it is just SPORTS.

  7. seattlenative57 - Mar 9, 2013 at 6:41 AM

    Get the moving vans ready.

  8. convincedofthehex - Mar 9, 2013 at 7:14 AM

    The guys in Tesla just want to know when they have to play their next Save The Kings concert.

  9. nickmiller63 - Mar 9, 2013 at 8:13 AM

    Lots of comment from Seattle. Nervous much? Stern just gave Sac the map to the buried treasure.

    • shemberry - Mar 9, 2013 at 9:42 AM

      He sure did, the only problem is that the map says “Outspend Steve Freaking Ballmer”! Not happening.

    • theoriginaldonald - Mar 9, 2013 at 10:09 AM

      Nick, more like KJ trying to siphon off school funds for a new arena. #CanYousayEMBEZZLEMENT??????????????

  10. BigBeachBall - Mar 9, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Sacramento is californias capital i heard.. So they got that….

  11. praetorian12 - Mar 9, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Just wondering if this story is really a surprise to anyone living outside of the Sacramento area. NBA owners don’t care about a $77 Million offset.. they care about the biggest sale price possible, because it instantly raises the value of their own franchises.

    • joenash72 - Mar 9, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      Exactly. This is also why NBA won’t do the best fix for the situation and just give us in Seattle an expansion team. Besides the fact, as mentioned above, this bidding war will increase the value of the franchises, they also don’t want to split the TV $$$ with another team.

      And as was already proven when they let the Sonics be taken away to Oklahoma, they have no qualms with screwing-over an entire city’s fan base………

      It’s all about the $$$

  12. norcaldeportes - Mar 9, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    It’s not a bidding war. Hansen/Ballmer have a deal, signed and sealed. Mastrov/Burkle have an offer. Stern is guiding Sacramento step by step. Pay attention: Sac offer involves WNBA? Offer needs to be raised? Maloofs can’t dictate where the team is moved? All this is Stern’s way of making sure the team stays in Sac. However, he’s also saying that if Sac fails to deliver on any of these things, they’re gone.

  13. steelers4385 - Mar 9, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    David stern takes it deep. And enjoys it.

  14. flexnfx - Mar 9, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Game over Sac….we had a 41 year old, fan supported team that now resides OKC.</a

  15. radrntn - Mar 9, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    LOL at some of the comments from the north. I don’t live in California but think everybody knows California by itself is one of the worlds top economies, and Sac is the capital. The Gov is already involved. The funniest thing to me is the Maloofs asked for a non-refundable deposit, that tells you right there whats up.

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