Before I go any further – let me say this. To Seattle fans, be proud of what Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer have done. If the shoe was on the other foot, I too would be commending them as many of you are doing. They’ve done everything they possibly could to bring basketball back to the Emerald City and there’s absolutely nothing to hang your head over. Hansen and Ballmer literally couldn’t have done anything more…
And that leads me to this, the current scenario where the Hansen-Ballmer group has put together their own backup offer in hopes of bringing the Kings to Seattle.
It’s a commendable effort, but one that is the equivalent of a full court shot with .8 on the game clock. The NBA has already spoken on the relocation. Perhaps Hansen and Ballmer were too upfront with their intentions, odd as that may sound. But the NBA plays by their own set of rules and ironic as it might be to say, they don’t wavier from them.
When it comes to franchise relocation, the NBA always chooses to look at the incumbent city as their first order of business. What exactly have they done to lose the team? That’s not a slight to Sacramento or Seattle – it’s just how they operate. If the role was reversed and Sacramento was attempting to relocate the Sonics, the scenario would unfold in the exact same way. Maybe that was something overlooked, but more likely, it was something that the Hansen-Balmer group along with the Maloof family thought of as a given.
The Hansen-Ballmer group saw a weak ownership, flooding money, with a weak on court product. They saw fan support that was deemed incorrectly unsupportive. It was no different than your typical setup on a National Geographic program, stalking and preying on a perceived weak object.
I mean really – who’d have thought outside Sacramento that this would even be a fight? Sacramento somehow find willing investors to deal with the bank vaults of the Hansen-Ballmer group? Laughable. Sacramento convince their residents to pay for some of a new entertainment complex? Sacramento to approve such? To put all of this together in a matter of weeks? There was no way – it was an impossible task. That’s how everybody outside of Sacramento viewed the fight and there’s no doubt that the Hansen-Ballmer group (along with the Maloof family) felt the same way. Frankly, for those outside of Sacramento, who wouldn’t have felt like that? The Hansen-Ballmer group a plan and it was a damn good one. But like Iron Mike Tyson once said, “everybody has a plan till they get punched in the mouth” and what a punch did Sacramento land.
While the end result is yet to be known, Sacramento fought back and did so with their guns blazing. Nobody outside of the community expected this – especially Hansen or the Maloofs. Hell, even some King fans knew it was a long shot, but they never gave up and the blood, sweat and tears could very well pay off for them in the coming days.
The only people in this predicament that deserve to lose are the only people who are going to win and that is the Maloof family.
No matter if the Seattle sale is denied in coming days, do you really expect the Maloofs to walk away from the sweetheart deal they’ve ached for the past few years? They can stand tall and stand proud all they want, but they’re never going to get an offer like this again. The Kings, love them as we do, are not worth this much money in a normal circumstance. Much like these two prospective ownership groups being the elite of the elite, they’ve made this an offer that the Maloof family can’t refuse, despite their announcement that they will, assuming the NBA does not allow the sale to Seattle.
This was a true heavyweight fight and one that outside of some last ditch legal efforts, is entering its final round. Faces are bloodied, bodies are aching, limbs are shaking. This might just turn into a 2013 version of Buster Douglas and Mike Tyson, just that one party isn’t going to get knocked out – the judges are going to make a final call on this one.