NBA Delays Kings' Fate; Expansion Talk Surfaces Again
No surprise here: As the dollars get bigger, the deal goes slower.
It was better than even money that the NBA's owners would defer a vote on where the Kings franchise would be playing next season. Those dudes and their armies of accountants must be agog as each passing week brings more moola into the fray, raising the already-bloated value of a property that looks strikingly similar to the ones in their possession.
And in most instances, the ones in their possession are shinier.
And if that's the case -- if the Kings franchise would be appraised on the low end of NBA teams -- what would the expansion fee from two more teams put into their piggy banks?
The sum of $750million times two is not beyond reason anymore. Common sense, yes. Reason, no. That's $1.5billion of Uncle Sam's finest legal tender. No wonder hint grenades are being lobbed at the press about expansion being back on the table.
Yes, David Stern said as recently as the All-Star break that no one wanted expansion right now. He also said that he didn't want a bidding war between Sac-Town and Seattle. How's that working out? Then there's his behind-the-scenes maneuvering to add more investors to the Sacramento consortium. It's doubtful he's going solo on that mission.
Crazy money is front and center in two cities. There's at least one more burg out there -- or should we say 'Ville? -- that has 1%ers who are just as crazy. What better time to cash in than on what's become a feeding frenzy of a franchise auction?
The core transaction couldn't be any murker, simply on procedural grounds. Money trumped justice in bankruptcy court, as the NBA office signalled that the 7% solution of minority ownership shares wasn't stopping them from considering the pending purchase-and-sale agreement between the Maloof Circus and Seattle Saviors. (It helped that the Sacramento group didn't want to risk falling our of favor by pressing for a judge's decision, which they could easily have won. This paved the way for the Seattle group to buy the shares at a reduced price, as it was the only bidder.) This is a separate ownership issue and must be presented, considered, and voted on as such.
Thus, a delay in the big vote is understandable, but it's the perfect scenario for backroom wheeling and dealing to hit high gear. Clearly, Stern is getting pushback from a faction of owners who aren't excited about seeing committed money left on the table when it could be going into their pockets.
And while the argument that two more teams would slice the annual revenue pie that much thinner, the 1%ers have ways of compensating for that slight inconvenience. The fact remains that owners of most professional sports franchises realize their full value when they sell. So, it becomes attractive to take what looks to become a windfall profit from expansion fees now and solidify the increased value of their asset.
What about the argument that league-wide talent will be diluted even further? Get real. With lotsa dosh on the other side of the proverbial coin, when has that ever become an issue?
The intrigue right now is not only Sacramento vs Seattle. It's Owners vs Poobah. The final chapter of this episode will be fascinating.