Sacramento and Seattle have presented competing plans to the NBA; what happens next?
Every year, Forbes releases its list of the most valuable NBA teams along with an estimated valuation. In 2009, the Kings were 22nd with a valuation of $305 million. In 2010, they came in 24th at $293 million. In 2011, they ranked 23rd at $300 million. While the market doesn't necessarily abide by Forbes' calculations, it shows the consistently unimpressive perceived value of the franchise. The Hansen-Ballmer offer valued the franchise at a whopping $525 million, more than enough to get the Maloofs' attention. Because of this offer, Forbes' most recent franchise valuation lists the Kings as the 11th most valuable franchise, ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers.
Maybe valuing the Kings ahead of the Clippers isn't so smart, but making a bold statement and putting a lot of money in front the Kings cash-strapped owners certainly was. Perhaps that was precisely what was needed for the Maloofs to finally loosen their death grip on the Kings.
Given the Board of Governors' recent track record when it comes to team sales, it seems unlikely that the NBA will go against the decision of one of its owners, even though those owners are not especially well-liked, to say the least. And, to the dismay of many in the Sacramento region, the Maloofs do own the team and have the right to do with it what they please.
Over the last few weeks, Sacramento has been making headlines and revealing more and more information about its coup to keep the team in advance of yesterday's presentations. Observers note that Sacramento has the momentum but the fact of the matter is that it's Seattle's to lose. They have the agreement in place and if the Kings are to stay in Sacramento, the NBA will need to do something it's done just once in recent history: block the sale and relocation of a team. That happened back in 1994 when New Orleans attempted to lure the Timberwolves out of Minnesota but the league's owners voted unanimously against the move because of weaknesses in the financing plan. Unfortunately for Sacramento, Hansen and Ballmer won't have any issues coming up with the dough and have already been willing to go above and beyond when it comes to writing big checks.se.