Earlier this evening, Mayor Kevin Johnson announced Ron Burkle and Mark Mastrov as the two large equity pieces in his attempt to keep the Kings in Sacramento. No numbers (in terms of bids) were brought to the table in his State of the City address, though, Mayor Johnson did confirm that a bid would be sent to the league tomorrow.
However – despite Mayor Johnson’s obvious reluctance to publicly admit a bid number, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski says an NBA source has confirmed to him that the bid is “slightly lower” than that of the Hansen-Ballmer group bid in Seattle:
Mastrov and the local investors’ bid is “slightly lower,” than the $341 million that the Chris Hansen-Steve Ballmer group has agreed to pay for the available 65 percent of the Kings, a high-level source involved in the talks told Yahoo! Sports on Thursday night.
What to make of Wojo’s report is difficult. Some may point to the fact that it was Wojo himself who reported that the sale to the Seattle group was “first and goal at the one” a few weeks ago and question his normally high quality sources. Other’s may buy into his report given his very accurate history outside of a few swings and misses.
As to the actual dollars of the bid – obviously, if you’re Sacramento, you’d like to put forth a number that exceeds that of the Hansen-Ballmer group but this is not a group unaware of what they’re doing or even how to do it. Make no mistake – Ron Burkle is a master businessman who’s swam in the shark infested waters of professional sports and understands how the scenarios play out. They’re not going to underbid (or overbid) by a few million dollars just because they’re trying to get the best deal possible. They’re not shopping at Wal-Mart for a professional sports franchise. Add in the fact that they’re essentially going to be additionally funding a WNBA team along with purchasing the Kings and fronting a hefty portion of the said arena – the bid could actually top that of Seattle, if you include the re-birth of the Monarchs – something the NBA would obviously be happy with. Either way, it’s doubtful the Maloof family would not be given a near identical amount in either bid.
Both sides have been extremely convincing and have proven to be very capable in their efforts to move forward with the Kings franchise – clearly, the next month plus is going to be one full of high’s and low’s for both cities.