The Sacramento Kings are headed to Seattle under new ownership unless Mayor Kevin Johnson can put together a rival ownership group and persuade the NBA to give it a shot at buying the team.
Bee reporters Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak discussed the situation Tuesday with sacbee.com readers. Here are excerpts from the chat:
Why the Maloof animosity toward Sacramento? Why are they intent on sticking it to the city and fans?
Dale Kasler: They haven't given a reason yet for the sale. (Seattle buyer) Chris Hansen put a huge sum of money in front of them, and they took it. Obviously their relations with the city have been frayed by the failed arena deals, etc.
Will the NBA seriously consider a rival offer from Sacramento if it matches or exceeds the Seattle offer? The Sacramento offer would have to include a new arena.
Dale Kasler: That's the question we're all asking what would the NBA do? Right now they have a very solid offer from solid buyers for a whole lot of money. It's going to be hard for the mayor to talk the NBA out of the Seattle deal. We'll see.
In your opinion, if KJ's offer is equal to (the Seattle deal), would the Maloofs take it? Is the (NBA) in any position to make this decision?
Dale Kasler: The Maloofs have a binding agreement with Hansen. It doesn't dissolve unless the NBA rejects the sale. That's where (the NBA) has the power. It doesn't have the authority to tell the Maloofs they have to sell to the local group.
Does Sacramento have enough wealthy people in the area to step forward at the last minutes?
Dale Kasler: It probably doesn't. The local investors will have to team with a wealthy out-of-town owner, like Mark Mastrov, Ron Burkle or maybe a Larry Ellison.
How can Sacramento compete with a Seattle project ... when last time I checked the state of California is broke?
Dale Kasler: The state's finances are irrelevant here. The city of Sacramento put $255 million on the table, more than Seattle/King County offered to the Hansen group for the arena there, by the way. At some level that has to be impressive to the NBA.
Do you think that the NBA is getting tired of KJ coming to them for help on saving the Kings since it will be his third time?
Dale Kasler: I don't think (so). The NBA was in his corner on the arena deal last year. That doesn't mean he'll get his way this time, it just means the league respects him and what he's doing.
We know Stern wants to right the wrong that happened in Seattle, but if Sacramento loses the Kings wouldn't that just be another black eye to his tenure?
Tony Bizjak: Stern and the NBA will look out for what is in their best interests. KJ hopes that means the team stays in Sacramento, and Seattle gets an expansion team. Seattle feels the opposite. Stern may see this as a good thing: NBA teams are in hot demand, and going for half-billion dollar prices!
Will the Kings finish the season in Sacramento or move to Seattle before the end?
Tony Bizjak: In any case, they'll finish the season here.
Replay the full chat at www.sacbee.com/kingsblog