Tag Archives: Kevin Johnson

Time To Go Nuclear


Ok – so the relocation committee is going to recommend against the Hansen/Ballmer/Nordstrom (HBN) group moving the Kings upon them purchasing the team?

It’s now time for the good guy to become the bad guy.  If he wants to play the NBA way, I am going to lay out the steps below and possible outcomes from the chain of events.

  • Immediately raise purchase price of controlling interest of the Kings another $120 million dollars.
    • There are theories floating out there that while the HBN offer was more than Sacramento’s in terms of straight up dollars for dollars (then accounting for debts held by the Maloofs that needed to be paid back to the city or something to that effect brought the two offers to basically dead even), it’s now time for Steve Ballmer to open the checkbook again and make the offer basically too good for the Maloofs to refuse.  This would immediately make the offers not even in the same territory.  Other owners will see this and basically can’t refuse someone who wants to pay that much for a franchise. (Not even 100% of a franchise, I might add)
  • Drop the relocation bid, but keep purchase in play.
    • This sounds counter-intuitive, but it is time for some dirty poker.  Keep the land use permit application going, but change it to a large outdoor mall in the footprint of the purchased land.  Draw up the sketches and put them in the press.  It is going to take time to knock down these buildings anyways to clear room, so “work” can technically start.
  • Immediately draw up plans for a $600+ million dollar publicly funded arena in the Railyards location in Sacramento.
    • This is an immediate flash-bang (COD style) right in the middle of Sacramento.  The city is debating the location of the arena in their plan (still) and there are supporters for the downtown Sac site, as well as the railyards which has come up a few times.
    • The dollar amount immediately launches this into the “can’t or won’t” get done territory.  It doesn’t matter, HBN is going through the motions anyways and can recant all of the Sonics arena talk that they have had going so far.  The leaked OKC emails didn’t stop this from happening  so a flagrant website and movement for 2+ years can be easily forgotten in the eyes on the owners.
    • 100% publicly funded – that’s what the owners like, right?
  • Appeal to the state of California for this arena funding, and try to get a state tax to pay for the Sacramento arena.
    • This is such an insane non-starter, but it takes a page out of the Bennett playbook, who went to Olympia with Stern and wonder why they got shot down.  Plus, I am sure LA voters and SF voters would love paying for a stadium for an opposing team.  But hey, they are trying, right?
  • This plays into the first, but since larger investments were made in team acquisition, no private funds from HBN can be used.
    • HBN is already tied up in several real estate deals in the Pacific Northwest, and with the large purchase price of the team, this is the only way that they can stay competitive in the market is to get a publicly funded stadium only.
  • Immediately not honor any progress made by the former competing ownership group with regards to the Sacramento Downtown Arena
    • HBN wants to enter their own agreements, and “explore” other taxable revenue streams that they think are more sustainable than a parking tax.
      • This isn’t true, but it again puts the public at odds with regards to financing and tax revenues to be used.
  • Wait

I think the above is tenable for probably a year.  The Kings will be playing a known lame-duck season in Sactown (at least in the eyes of the fans, but HBN is “trying”) in which attendance drops, team support withers which makes all of the above that much harder to get anything done.  Soon, HBN won’t be able to run their franchise the way they would like and relocation will have to be done to save the franchise.

If you haven’t noticed, this blueprint was used in Seattle in 2008.  Is it fair?  No.  Does Sacramento take it in the ass? Yeah.  Does Seattle/HBN do what they said they wouldn’t?  Yes.

Pretty ridiculous, isn’t it?

Stern, if your meddling is going to block this move, approve expansion.  Now.  Your legacy means so much to you, this is how you save it.

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Not So Fast, Seattle. They’re Still the Sacramento Kings.

Apparetly this King's fan has had enough...

Apparently this King’s fan has had enough…

The past few weeks have been exhausting if you’re a fan of the former Seattle Supersonics.  Rumors started floating around that the Maloof family was looking to sell the team.  Then came rumors of the Hansen Group getting involved.  Now, The Maloofs and the Hansen Group have a signed sale of the Sacramento Kings, which would give Hansen the power to move the team.  Are you excited yet?

Not so fast, my friend.  At least that’s what Kevin Johnson, former NBA player and current Sacramento Mayor, is telling the city of Seattle.

Over the past few years, Sacramento has found a way to keep their only professional sports team.  In 2011, Johnson bought the city time to work out a deal with the Maloofs for a new stadium.  However, that fell through as Maloofs did not think the deal was a good financial deal for the team.

Now, with the Maloofs selling, Johnson is gathering a large group of investors in an effort to pool enough money to keep the Kings in Sacramento.  He says he has 20 people who have pledged at least $1 million each.  That includes billionaire, Mark Mastrov, founder of 24-hour Fitness.

The Hansen Group and Maloofs have submitted a purchase agreement to the NBA Board of Governors.  But until the sale is approved, the Maloofs can still receive other offers.  Johnson intends to submit just that before the relocation deadline of March 1st.

This is where things get interesting.  Johnson has proven on many occasions that he is capable of saving the Kings from certain “death” (by relocation).  If he continues gathering funds as he has, the future of the Kings may not be in Seattle.

The Maloofs only selling 65 percent of the franchise, meaning they will collect $340 million (of the $525 million that the team is worth to the Hansen Group).  That means Johnson must come up with at least that in order to put up a fight against Hansen.  Mastrov is almost capable of doing that himself.

Here’s the point.  Yes – the Maloofs have agreed to sell to the Hansen Group.  That’s a huge step in the right direction.  But, DON’T GET YOUR HOPES UP, Seattle.  There is still a lot of time before this deal is made official.

Johnson added this in an address to the city of Sacramento.  He said, “Seattle had some of the best fans in the NBA…Incredible fans. And when they lost their team a couple years ago, it was devastating to me, because those fans fought like crazy and rallied and they cheered on the home team. And I strongly believe they deserve an NBA team at some point. Just not ours.”

I applaud your efforts, KJ, I really do.  But I really hope they’re all for naught.

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