After months of back-and-forth jostling, it's finally time for the NBA owners to vote on the sale of the Kings to the group backed by Seattle investor Chris Hansen. Hansen needs 23 of 30 votes to secure the sale and we know that he has at least one in the Maloofs. The Sacramento side, meanwhile, needs eight no votes to block the transaction. If the sale goes through, all Hansen needs is a simple majority of 16 votes to move the club to Seattle. If Hansen gets denied the overall sale, however, it could create an opening for Sacramento, as detailed by NBA.com's David Aldridge.
If the Seattle deal is rejected, Sacramento stands ready with a counteroffer to the Maloofs that may match the parameters of the Seattle offer. Some sources involved in the discussions say it does but others say it doesn't. Regardless, a source indicated that the Maloofs would be willing to sign a backup offer with the Sacramento-led Vivek Ranadive group if the Hansen deal was rejected by the NBA.
Factors like television market size can come into play in the approval process, but there are three major factors that will influence the decision, according to Aldridge.
- The key issue is the arena, as in, which side can get the building finished first and closest to the estimated price tag. There are significant hurdles on both sides. The new Seattle arena – which would be heavily financed by Hansen – might not be ready until 2017, which means that the team would have to play in Key Arena for longer than the previously estimated two year span. The $448MM proposed arena in Sacramento would see $250MM from taxpayers, but there's still the matter of securing the land necessary and purchasing it, and that could cost more than estimated in total.
- There's also a matter of a $30MM non-refundable deposit that the Maloofs have secured from Hansen but have yet to receive from Ranadive's team. It's still unknown whether the Sacramento group will take that plunge.
- Finally, the league's new revenue sharing system will affect the franchise differently, depending on where it lands. If the Kings stay in Sacramento, league sources believe the team will continue to take in money from the pool. If the Kings move to Seattle, those sources believe the team will become a revenue payer, which obviously benefits the league more.
On the surface, it would appear that the cards are stacked against Sacramento. However, there is always the wild card of commissioner David Stern, who is said to be helping the Sacramento group behind the scenes. The Maloofs, who still want to make the deal happen with Hansen, believe that Stern has gone above and beyond in his efforts to keep the Kings where they are. Stern has backed off and let franchises move in the past, like when the Sonics were moved to Oklahoma City, but has also prevented sales that would have lead to relocation, like the Hornets' proposed sale to Larry Ellison, who probably would have brought them to San Jose.
As it stands, Hansen probably has the upper hand, but Stern could shift things to Sacramento's side in a hurry if he can help secure more financing for them.