News broke on Saturday that the Maloof brothers (Joe and Gavin) will only agree to sell the Sacramento Kings to the Seattle-based group headed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Chris Hansen. If the NBA doesn’t approve a move to Seattle, the Maloofs apparently have a backup plan.
The crash-strapped brothers have made a backup agreement with the Hansen-Ballmer group to sell it 20 percent of the team for $125 million, if the NBA doesn’t approve a full sale. That would allow the Maloofs to continue running the team. Also on Friday, Hansen announced that he had increased his offer to buy out the Maloofs to $409 million (up from $358 million). That would put the total valuation of the franchise at $625 million, since the Maloofs own 65 percent of the team.
The new proposal would also include $115 million offer to the NBA’s owners as a relocation fee. That would work out to about $4 million per team. For comparison, when the Oklahoma City Thunder moved from Seattle in 2008, the franchise paid just $30 million as a relocation free.
The NBA’s relocation committee is planning to re-evaluate it’s rejection of a move to Seattle before the NBA’s owners meet next Tuesday in Dallas.
Meanwhile, the NBA has negotiated a deal with a group led by Silicon Valley billionaire Vivek Ranadive that plans to keep the team in Sacramento. That group’s valuation of the franchise came out to $525 million, and it also brokered a deal with the local government to build a new arena that would include more than $250 million in public funding.
Originally the relocation committee ruled that the Ranadive group’s offer should be enough to keep the team in Sacramento. Now the league is apparently willing to re-examine its decision.