Next week's decision on the sale and relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle depends on the answers to question from the NBA Finance and Relocation committees, and question owners ask themselves.
DAVID STERN: We don’t have a lot to say, but given the size of the group and your patience in being here, we feel that we should say something, so here’s what happened today. We had committee members of our two committees. Present were Peter Holt (Spurs), chairman of the board (of the Board of Governors); Glen Taylor (Timberwolves), Clay Bennett (Thunder), Jim Dolan (Knicks), Ted Leonsis (Wizards), Larry Tanenbaum (Raptors), Herb Simon (Pacers)and Wyc Grousbeck (Celtics).
We heard a day full of extraordinary presentations of a complex real estate, arena, construction time lines, potential obstacles and team funding in two really great cities.
It was a long day without any breaks, and both sides made in my view very, very strong presentations.
There are questions that the committee has asked us, the staff, to go back and seek details and answers on with respect to exact structure, capital commitments, construction timelines, potential obstacles, given the fact that in either case, we’ll be playing in, shall I say, sub‑optimal arenas for some period of time that it’s difficult to precisely tie it down given the fact that there is no finality to the construction schedules in either city.
And so we have a lot of work that we have to do from a construction timeline, a regulatory timeline, an ownership and capital structure timeline, and all kinds of other things that the committee has asked us to go back with lawyers and just get a lot more data and information. And that’s what we’re going to do.
Transcript of Stern-Silver press conference, April 3, 2013, Bob Condotta, Seattle Times
To some degree the quest for more solid information looks from the outside as Commissioner Stern "helping" Sacramento. That may be the case, to some extent, but the reality is that their information was lacking.
The fluidity of the ownership group in Sacramento still acts with uncertainty. It's exciting for their fans, but unstable on the face of it. They need to shore that up, if not to retain the team they have, then to be first in line for relocation or expansion.
Bookend David Stern's comments with NBA.com and TNT Analyst David Aldridge's reporting from Monday, and we can see the perspective of the seller, the Maloof family, on the decision process.
But three factors seem to be most important: • The Arena Deals: This is the key issue: which city can get its arena build first, and closest to the amount it currently claims the new building will cost. • The $30 million non-refundable deposit that Hansen made as part of the deal with the Maloofs in January: The Maloofs, according to sources, are insistent that any match of the Hansen deal by Sacramento also include another $30 million in unrefundable deposits. Will Ranadive's group take the plunge? As of Sunday night it was still uncertain. • Makers versus Takers: If the Kings stay in Sacramento, league sources believe the team will remain a recipient of the enhanced revenue sharing program instituted last year. If the Kings move to Seattle, those sources believe the team will become a revenue payer, which benefits both fellow paying teams and those remaining receiving teams. NBA.com, David Aldridge, On this season's awards ballot, MVP is a true one-man race
I think that the first point by Aldridge contains the question Stern had to get answers to from the April 3rd meeting. When will the respective arenas be ready, and do the financing plans for the arenas pencil out?
I'm not sure how the NBA will account for the unsecured land and the immature details in the Sacramento plan. The folks in Sacramento appear to me to want the NBA to consider the site location as an older plan that just needs updating, while at the same time hoping the NBA ignores why those efforts failed financially.
The second point Stern and NBA staff had to go look at Aldridge refers directly to the terms and conditions the Maloof family is willing accept. If the Maloof family has to in negotiate with another party, if Hansen's agreement with the Maloofs is declined by the NBA, then they are setting the same expectations. The Maloofs want certainty, too.
We can see the swing in focus from dismissing Chris Hansen's $30 million dollar non-refundable deposit in Adam Silver's answer to Aldridge's reporting on the Maloof family insistence on honoring their commitment to Chris Hansen.
On Aldridge's third point, makers vs. takers, it appears that there are conflicting claims by both sides, and, this may have been a point the owners requested analysis on from the April 3rd meeting.
With Chris Hansen reportedly pitching the economic superiority of the Seattle market in every way, it may be impossible for the NBA to reject Chris Hansen's pending purchase and sale agreement.
If the NBA owners are considering the longevity of the league, and the impact having the franchise in Seattle over Sacramento, then this last point should tip the scale decidedly toward Chris Hansen, Steve Ballmer, Erik Nordstrom, Peter Nordstrom, and Wally Walker.