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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sonics in Seattle in 2013 - Closer to Reality.

The latest news out of Sacramento is the alleged emergence of their 'whale' who is going to ride (or swim) into town and rescue the Kings from the dastardly Hansen/Ballmer group who's intent is to take them to Seattle.

Apparently Ron Burkle is leading the charge, although, as is consistant with Kevin Johnson's tactics, there has been zero confirmation from Burkle about any interest in this. News reports continue to 'leak' out of Sacramento, conveniently feeding hope to the local fans and media. Reading between the lines, it's clear this is a Hail Mary, a half-court desperation shot by Johnson to minimize the political damage he's going to suffer when the Kings leave town on his watch. It's understandable. It's not even his fault. However, it's too late. Now this is merely face-saving stunt. Even if he could snare his whale, there still is no arena deal in place.

Kevin, you're down by 18 with 30 seconds to go. Is victory possible? Yes. Is it likely? Not very.

The smoking gun in all of this is the $30 million non-refundable deposit Hansen/Ballmer have agreed to. Make no mistake - these guys are smart and savvy and have the best legal teams in the world (arguably, anyway) at their disposal. Hansen is an investment wiz. These guys aren't gambling $30 million without assurances of a return. That money is likely a guarantee that the Maloofs will not negotiate or sell to any other parties, which makes it the smoking gun that this is probably already a done deal, sans some basic formalities. It's unlikely anyone can match the financial resources Hanson and Ballmer (who's worth a reported 17 billion) have, and even if they could, the Maloofs are not obligated to sell to them. That's what $30 million ensures.

As for the approval process, that too is as good as done. Stern wants this to happen, the NBA owners want this to happen, Clay Bennet HAS to move the process forward or get brutalized in the media. The Seattle market is more lucrative, the ownership group determined and hungry to field a winner, and Stern can finally erase the biggest black eye on his tenure; ushering the original Supersonics out of Seattle.

All the evidence points to a done deal in Sacramento.

If you are a fan in Sacramento, beleive me, you have all of Seattle's synmpathies. I went through this when the Sonics were thugged from us, and those were entirely different circumstances, and much more painful. Clay Bennett, now the chairman of the relocation committee (ironic, huh?) biought the team and announced many times he was keeping them in Seattle. Later, the evidence proved he was lying the whole time. Not only that, but Bennett systematicall destroyed the franchise and alienated the fan base to expedite the move. It's all documented in Sonicsgate the movie.

Hanson/Ballmer are transparent in their intent to buy and move the team

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sonics Return Now Just a Formality: ZombieSonics Celebrate by Losing to Nuggets

It's basically over in Sacramento for the Kings. It's not the fan's fault but rather the result of a perfect storm. The Maloofs tainted the franchise and ran it into the ground and alienated the local fan base on the way down. It's sad, really.

This situation ran head-on into Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, two Seattleites who want an NBA team back in Seattle, and have the means to make it a reality. Hansen has set up the arena deal; he and Ballmer have (over) paid for the Kings, just to ensure their sale.

They'll have the support of the NBA owners, Stern and the City of Seattle. Make no mistake, this deal is done. There are some details to be cleaned up, but it's over. Kevin Johnson's Hail Mary's are not aimed at keeping the team, they are a PR stunt from a Mayor who doesn't want the stink of the City's loss of a franchise on his watch...come election time. Any opponent will try and use that against him, as unfair as that may be. This is KJ understanding that and wringing every 'option' from the situation.

The ZombieSonics of OKC went out and celebrated this announcement on Saturday by losing in overtime to the woeful Denver Nuggets. CLearly Durant was distracted at the wonderful news and was daydreaming about his inevitable return to the Jet City and the franchise that drafted him - the Seattle SuperSonics. Yes, Kevin, Seattle will welcome you back with open arms.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Rumors of a Done Deal Swirling

And in yet another development, Matt Steinmetz, an NBA analyst for the CSN Bay Area is reporting via twitter that the deal has been closed, unofficially of course.

The sale is reportedly for $525 million with the Maloofs retaining no ownership stake whatsoever - walking away with the cash and nothing else.

Maloofs Making Desperate Cling to Power Play?

The latest news out of Sacramento is that there's been a 'snag' in the negotiations between the Hansen/Ballmer group and the Maloofs. And by 'snag' I mean total idiocy.

The rumor is that the Maloofs want to keep a small percentage of the team, which is their right to bargain for, but they want to 'have input' in how the team will be run.

Wait, what?

The Maloofs have singlehandedly run the Kings into the ground. They have alienated the Sacramanto fans by threatening to leave, signing a deal to stay and backing out of the deal at the 11th hour. Now they have a bird in hand with this potential sale. They gave up control of the Palms casino in Vegas after losing a fortune there.

In summary; they lost the Palms, ruined the Kings, alienated the entire Sactown fan base and have been completely unprofessional in all thier dealings - and they want to 'have input'?

Yeah, don't see that happening, guys.

I'd be surprised if the Hansen/Ballmer group allowed the Maloofs to retain any ownership stake in the team. They've been bad for business an I can't imagine they want that circus up in Seattle. The Hansen/Ballmer group may be willing to over pay for a team, but they aren't going to be held hostage. That won't happen. They've waited this long, they'll wait it out until the right deal is done, sensible heads prevail, or they'll move on.

It's almost imperative this deal gets done - for the sake of the closing this chapter on the Maloofs and the Kings. It's becoming a Tebow-like circus. Somewhere behind closed doors, David Stern must be gnashing his teeth. Stern ushered the SuperSonics out of Seattle and publicly regrets it - this is his golden opportunity to right that wrong as his tenure as Commish is drawing to an end.

Until the next chapter...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

All Signs Point North - Kings Moving to Seattle.

Internet rumors are running rampant that the sale of the Sacrmento Kings to the Seattle group led by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and San Francisco hedge fund manager Steve Hanson could be imminent.

Premilinary details, via Yahoo sports and twitter, suggest the team will be sold for around $500 million, but with the intent and understanding they will move the team to Seattle in time for the 2013/14 season. The team, which will be renamed the Sonics, an homage to the team that was moved to Oklahoma City four miserable years ago.

The Sonics were formed in 1967 in Seattle and won the city's only modern era championship in 1979. In 2007, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, embittered by the difficulties of owning an NBA team, sold the team to an Oklahoma contingent who proceded to gut the team's players and Seattle personnel en route to moving the team to Oklahoms City, despite repeated insistance they boought the team to keep it in Seattle. It's arguably the darkest day in Seattle sports history as the Sonics were notoriously popular in Seattle, the Northwest and around the country.

Details are still emerging, and as of now the deal is not complete. The Maloofs have backed out of several deals at the 11th hour before, so while this is not a confirmed deal, all signs point to a deal being imminent. The Maloofs allegedly agreed to a deal for a new arena in Sacramanto last year, but famously backed out, thus alienating themselves in the city the Kings have called home since 1985. The Maloofs have fallen on hard times financially as their Las Vegas club The Palms is losing money.

The sale of the team seemed a forgoen conclusion to those follwing the story. It was just amatter of finding the right opportunity. That's when Ballmer and Hanson fell in their lap. The teams most often mentioned as a potential destination for the beleaguered Kings franchise were Anaheim, Virginia Beach and Kansas City. VB recently pulled out of the running, Anaheim has been considered too tricky due to having the Clippers and Lakers in that market already, and KC doesn't appear to have any momentum.

Steve Hanson emerged last year when he led the charge to build a multi-purpose area in the "South of Downtown" area of Seattle (aka SODO). The new arena, funded by a mix or private and public funding, will be built on the south end of where the Seahawks stadium is. Hanson bought the land with the intent to build an arena and bring the NBA, and possibly a n NHL team, to Seattle.