NBA Commissioner David Stern has termed competing offers for the Sacramento Kings to be roughly the same, despite objections from the Maloof family a Sacramento bid is worth far less than an already-accepted Seattle deal.
There are two offers for the Kings on the table: one from the Chris Hansen group seeking a franchise for Seattle, and one from a group led by Vivek Ranadive that would keep the team in Sacramento. But the Maloof family, which controls majority shares of the Kings, says the Hansen offer is better. From the Sacramento Bee:
The family said Sacramento’s bid is “deficient economically” when compared with the sweetened offer they’ve accepted from Seattle investor Chris Hansen.
The letter confirms earlier reports that Hansen is offering more money. His recently improved offer would value the whole team at $550 million, the most ever paid for an NBA team, with the Maloofs receiving $357 million for their share. Sacramento so far has only matched Hansen’s original offer, which would give the Maloofs a $341 million payout.
The Maloofs added that Sacramento’s investors are asking them to abandon their binding agreement with Hansen in favor of Sacramento’s “non-binding expression of interest” that’s subject to further negotiation.
If you’re the Maloofs — who, in their defense, worked hard on a new Sacramento arena plan for years — you’ve got to love the Hansen deal: he’s already put up cash and he’s purchased other minority shares of the team. Plus, add to the situation the generally slipperiness of the Sacramento bid (remember, it’s not really a bid, just a “non-binding expression of interest”), and you can see why the Maloofs are ready to finalize a deal with the Seattle group.
In any case, we should see a decision this week on the future of the Kings. NBA owners may like to see one of their own take over the Kings (Ranadive is a part owner of the Golden State Warriors), but it’s bad practice to force team owners to take an inferior offer when there’s a great one on the table.