It's difficult to get a sense of who the frontrunner is in the tug of war over the Kings between Sacramento and Seattle. Yesterday's updates seemed to indicate that momentum was in Seattle's corner, but there's conflicting news today, as we detail:
- Sacramento's bidders will fully match Seattle's $341MM price for the Maloofs' 65% stake in the team, USA Today's Sam Amick hears. The bidders initially tried to come in $30MM short, based on the non-refundable payment Seattle investors made as part of their agreement to buy the team, but when the league told them that strategy wouldn't work, Sacramento's group agreed to add the $30MM.
- The Maloofs are concerned that Chris Hansen, the primary investor in Seattle's bid, may sue them if their purchase agreement falls through and Hansen winds up losing money in the ordeal, Amick adds in the same piece, which points to David Stern's influence behind Sacramento's effort.
- A group of 27 millionaires will join Sacramento's bid, but they're not going to be major investors in the effort, reports Nick Monacelli of News10 in Sacramento (Twitterlinks).
- The Sacramento bidders, as a whole, are more focused on the NBA's protocol for the process than the Maloofs' deadline, though they're not ignoring it, Monacelli tweets.
- The league committee weighing the competing bids for the Kings will recommend keeping the team in Sacramento as long as that city's investors match "the essential elements" of Seattle's offer, according to Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (Sulia link). Vivek Ranadive, who took over last month as the principal financial backer of the Sacramento effort, has been a "game changer," Bucher writes.
- Ranadive's impressiveness is second only to the one Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson has made on owners, many of whom want Johnson to work in the league office, as Bucher also notes.
- Speaking to reporters last night in Sacramento, Johnson reiterated multiple times that money isn't expected to be a problem when it comes to Sacramento's offer for the Kings (video link via News10).
- The NBA has asked the Sacramento group to cover the $30MM non-refundable payment that Seattle investors made as part of their deal to buy the controlling interest in the Kings from the Maloof family, reports Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Daily. Ranadive and company are expected to submit their final offer to the NBA tomorrow, presumably ahead of the Maloofs' deadline, and announce additional investors as well, according to Kaplan.
- A pair of attorneys threatening to sue the city of Sacramento over its contribution to a new arena say the city has understated the amount of money it's putting into the project, report Ryan Lillis and Dale Kasler of The Sacramento Bee.