A committee of NBA owners re-examined the potential relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle on Monday, and reports say they came to the same conclusion as before: the franchise isn’t moving. The relocation committee will recommend to the league’s owners that the Kings not be allowed to be sold to a Seattle-based group led by investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
A full vote on the matter is expected to happen at owners’ meetings in Dallas on Wednesday, but it is highly unlikely that the owners would go against the committee’s recommendation.
Last week in an attempt to change the minds of the NBA’s owners, Hansen’s group upped its offer to buy 65 percent of the Kings from $358 million to $409 million. He also offered a relocation fee of about $116 million, which would work out to roughly $4 million per NBA team. That move was meant to sweeten the deal and sway owners who weren’t convinced yet.
Even with those changes, it appears the league’s owners are unwilling to budge.
The NBA has actually negotiated a backup sale to a group led by Silicon Valley billionaire Vivek Ranadive that would keep the team in Sacramento. The NBA and Ranadive agreed to a purchase price of $341 million for 65 percent of the team. Obviously team owners Joe and Gavin Maloof prefer the Seattle offer, but they may not have the final say in the matter.
Ranadive’s group has come to a deal with local government officials to build a new arena, and has already secured $250 million in public funding to do so. That is most likely why NBA owners have sided with him.
The NBA wants the Kings to stay in Sacramento and it appears the league will do what it has to in order to make that happen.