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NBA legal analyst weighs in on Hansen’s options

By Rosalie Anne Cabison
Special to

The NBA relocation committee’s 7-0 vote against moving the Sacramento Kings puts another obstacle in the path that Chris Hansen has been clearing for a team in Seattle. NBA TV legal analyst Michael McCann joined “Afternoons with the Go 2 Guy” on Monday to assess Hansen’s legal options and explain some concepts to the Sonics faithful.

Chris Hansen

Below are a few of McCann’s thoughts.

Can a higher bid lose? It isn’t an auction. Offering more money or having a better arena deal would not give Hansen’s group a legal right to the team. “[Bid approval] really is the NBA’s discretion for whatever reasons it wants to employ,” McCann said.

Should Hansen sue? A case could be built citing antitrust laws but McCann said the argument “would be difficult to win on, and also it would take years.” He added, “I don’t think that the litigation path is a likely method of getting a team.”

How could Hansen get the Kings? The best immediate move is to convince the Board of Governors “that the relocation committee was somehow decidedly wrong” and get 16 owners to vote against their advice.

What if Sacramento doesn’t pull through? McCann thinks that’s unlikely, but if the Sacramento offer falls apart it gives Hansen leverage to ask the league to re-evaluate its relocation decision.

Can the Maloofs refuse the sale? The Maloofs aren’t obligated to sell to the Sacramento group. “Why they would do that … is a separate question,” McCann said. “If they’re interested in just getting as much money as possible and then moving on to other endeavors, then they probably would sell the team.”

How about expansion? An expansion team is feasible and won’t make a great impact on quality of play or sharing of resources but “the business folks at the NBA apparently believe otherwise and they’re the ones making the decision.” McCann’s odds of expansion are “Better than 50-1, better than the Kings.”