Rumors in Seattle and Sacramento are rampant as an NBA deadline looms.
The league is expected to decide the future of the team in its meetings April 18-19, but the Sacramento Bee has reported the Maloof family, which owns a majority of the team, has given Sacramento until 5 p.m. Friday to submit its bid or it won’t even consider it.
It’s not exactly clear which city has the advantage, especially since it’s not known whether or not investors in Sacramento have matched Seattle’s bid.
KING 5 reports NBA commissioner David Stern is now leaning Sacramento’s way, and that he has actually been working behind the scenes to get more support for Sacramento to boost its offer.
But reporter Chris Daniels told “Bob and Groz” the buzz is that Stern’s influence is not as strong as it was even three, four, or five years ago.
“There are some new owners in the league with a new attitude and potentially David Stern’s word doesn’t carry as much weight,” he said.
So now the question remains: what if Stern and the owners snub Seattle and we don’t get our Sonics back?
“The league has put itself in unprecedented territory and (it’s) running the risk now that if (it does) reject the Hansen-Balmer deal, it’s going to be tough for the NBA to ever return to Seattle,” Daniels explained. “They’re going to have trouble working with any businessman or government in Seattle if they don’t approve this deal now.”
Would Seattle try again with another team? Milwaukee? Or is an expansion team even a viable option for the NBA?
Daniels said Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told him last year that he thought expansion was a net loss for owners because they’d have to divvy up another piece with all the revenue from TV and digital.
“They continue to say no, no, no, but I know that people have written that this whole saga is the best argument for expansion.”
Earlier Thursday, The Sports Business Daily reported that the NBA is asking Sacramento to cover a $30 million non-refundable deposit Hansen’s group paid the Maloofs, the majority owner, for the Kings.
Multiple sources also report the counter-offer from Sacramento is close to matching Seattle’s.
“You can ask me a hundred different ways,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, “money is not the issue. Our group has stepped up and did what was necessary for our community … to keep our team in Sacramento.”
MyNorthwest.com staff contributed to this report.