Stakes raised in bid to buy and move Sacramento Kings
NBA relocation committee says move to Seattle should be rejected
If this is Chris Hansen's final salvo in his attempt to purchase the Sacramento Kings, it's coming with an additional $75 million price tag to what already could be the richest franchise sale in NBA history.
Hansen increased his total valuation of the Kings from $550 million to $625 million on Friday in another attempt to sway NBA owners to allow him to buy the franchise and move it to Seattle.
Hansen also announced on his website that he has guaranteed owners that the franchise would pay into the league's revenue-sharing system in Seattle and not collect money as it has in Sacramento.
Hansen has had a deal since January to buy a 65 per cent controlling interest in the Kings from the Maloof family. He originally offered a total valuation of $525 million, then increased that offer to $550 million after a competing Sacramento group matched his deal. He hoped to move the team to Seattle and rename it the Sonics, who were relocated to Oklahoma City and renamed the Thunder in 2008.
The NBA's relocation committee voted 7-0 last week to recommend that the NBA Board of Governors — which consists of all 30 owners — reject the Seattle move. The board is expected to vote on the issue at its meeting in Dallas on Wednesday.
Hansen, in his Friday statement, said the Seattle group's arena proposal was more advanced than the one in Sacramento. He said the Seattle ownership group had bought all of the needed property, had 100 per cent of the private financing "committed and in place" and added that the environmental review process was further along.
"While we appreciate that this is a very difficult decision for the league and owners, we hope it is understood that we really believe the time is now to bring the NBA back to Seattle, and that it is paramount that we do everything we can to put Seattle's best foot forward in this process," Hansen said.
What remains unknown, and likely won't be answered until next week's Board of Governors meeting, is if this valuation increase by Hansen will sway any votes. The potential of an increased purchase price would also raise the value of other franchises, but NBA Commissioner David Stern has said repeatedly during the process that this would not become a bidding war.
King County executive Dow Constantine tweeted after Hansen's announcement, "This just got interesting."
While the move by Hansen continued to fuel hope that the Kings could still end up in Seattle for the 2013 season, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said the city "felt very confident" about keeping the franchise in California.
"The NBA leadership and owners have always said that their decision would not be dictated by a bidding war. This was always about whether Sacramento, a community that has supported the NBA for 28 years, can put together a plan and organization to ensure the franchise can rebuild and thrive," he said in a statement. "I believe the NBA owners realize that there is far more to think about than just an increased bid. They know what this story means to the league."