After the NBA’s relocation committee recommended denying the relocation of the Kings franchise to Seattle, the Maloofs met with Chris Hansen to discuss “strategy.” The brilliant idea that came out of that discussion was that Hansen could still buy the team, enter into negotiations with the City of Sacramento to build a new arena and hope that Sacramento dropped the ball at some point. That strategy was based on the idea that the NBA could say no to relocation, but wouldn’t be able to resist the Hansen-Baller group’s deep pockets. While there are many reasons that plan is unlikely to work, the latest “Plan B” is even stupider.
The Maloofs announced last week that they have a backup deal with Hansen-Ballmer to sell them 20% of the team, and continue to own and operate the Kings in Sacramento. The thought of another season of the Kings in Sacramento being operated by the Maloof family is as sickening as thoughts come. At least Hansen-Ballmer has the money to at least conceivably contribute to an arena deal with the City of Sacramento. As far fetched and unpleasant as it sounds, it is at least plausible that the NBA could decide to approve the sale of the Kings to Hansen-Ballmer with the contingency that they agree to the same arena deal with Sacramento that Ranadive and company have already agreed to. The NBA could then closely supervise the execution of the arena plan, keeping the pressure on Sacramento to follow through, and potentially approving relocation sometime in the future should Sacramento fail to live up to their end of the bargain. If the NBA had significant concerns about Sacramento’s ability to build an arena, then the NBA could see approving the Hansen sale as a way to keep the heat on Sacramento to meet every deadline. There are a million reasons why the NBA would not allow that toxic situation come to pass, but there is at least a smidgeon of logic behind that strategy.
The idea of a Maloof owned team in Sacramento is even more repulsive than the idea of a Chris Hansen owned team in Sacramento. The NBA is well aware that the Maloofs do not have the ability or desire to complete an arena deal with Sacramento. Last year, they walked away from an arena deal that was significantly better (from the Maloof’s perspective) than the one currently on the table in Sacramento. The NBA does not want this franchise in any city that is not actively working to build an arena as soon as possible, and as long as the Maloofs control the team, there will be absolutely zero progress toward building an arena.
Each new plan the Maloofs and Hansen-Ballmer come up with is worse than the previous one. The NBA finance/relocation had a conference call today, and issued no comment, and did not schedule any follow up meetings. None of the Maloof/Hansen/Ballmer schemes seem to have made any difference to the recommendation that the Kings remain in Caifornia’s capitol.
Hopefully, this will all be over within the next few days so that Phil Jackson can go ahead and just accept a job already.