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Saturday Afternoon Open Thread: The Kings Ransom

I think today's Sac Bee story has a pretty good summary of the Kings sale status.

The short answer is: there are two or three potential competing bidders, the bird in the hand is the Hansen offer of a reported $525 million dollars, and the others are developing Sacramento local deals.

Both deals would, sooner or later, pay off the debt to the city of Sacramento, that's why I'm seeing a different initial purchase offer. Sooner or later that debt gets paid. The Hansen group is, apparently, prepared to pay that off now.

I snipped a big chunk out of the story below and inserted my opinion throughout.
Buyers surface to keep Kings in Sacramento

Bay Area investor Mark Mastrov, the founder of the 24 Hour Fitness chain, told The Bee he has assembled a group to buy the Kings and "work with the city to get an arena deal if possible."

Mastrov was a finalist two years ago in the bidding for the Golden State Warriors, with his reported offer of $350 million falling short. The team ultimately was sold for an NBA-record $450 million, which Mastrov said he "could not see clear" to match.

The value of the property in a given market has something to do with its value, (shorter) location, location, location. If $450 million in the Bay Area doesn't pencil out then how does it in Sacramento? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, but I would think that if it did then the Maloofs would be able to borrow a couple hundred million dollars and build their own arena AND make money.

It pencils out for Hansen in Seattle.

He added that he has "been in touch with the Maloofs" about a possible purchase.

The Maloofs did not acknowledge receiving overtures from Mastrov. Eric Rose, the family's spokesman, said the family wouldn't comment on "rumors or speculation."

Mayor Kevin Johnson told USA Today late Friday that he's trying to round up a bid of at least $425 million. He said such a bid would be competitive with whatever the Maloofs could get from Seattle because of relocation costs. He said he believes Sacramento has a real shot at keeping the team.

Grasping at straws, can't blame him, and never will blame KJ.

Also expressing interest in playing some role was Dale Carlsen of Sleep Train Mattress Centers Inc., whose company is the naming sponsor of the Kings' arena in North Natomas.

Carlsen said he has talked with other potential investors as well as Johnson.

"My hope is we're given an opportunity as a community to put our offer in," Carlsen said. "There's several groups that are trying to put that together."

People have been trying to put this together in Seattle for a few years. It's just not something you just do. It's not a flash mob of billionaire basketball fans.

Hey, let's meetup at Dick's on 45th, eat some burgers and interpretive dance in the parking lot our purchase of a basketball franchise.

Yet another potential bidder is Ron Burkle, the billionaire supermarket tycoon whom Johnson first secured as an interested buyer when the Kings threatened to leave for Anaheim in 2011.

Johnson said this week he still considers Burkle a contender, and NBA Commissioner David Stern said Thursday it would be reasonable to give Burkle a chance to match any offer by the Seattle interests.

He was looking for a discount on the purchase of the franchise. Not surprising anyone, that failed.

A new report Friday by a Comcast Sports analyst said the Maloofs had a handshake agreement to sell the team for $525 million to hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer.

But there was no announcement from either side, and a source close to the Maloofs said Friday evening there was still no signed deal.

A spokesman for Hansen didn't return calls seeking comment.

Sources told The Bee as recently as Thursday that the Maloof family had not received a formal offer for the team, but was expecting one very soon.

Maloofs look to be on the clock.

The family has never publicly expressed an interest in selling the team, which it has controlled since 1999. But a source close to the family said the Maloofs – battered by economic setbacks in recent years, including the loss of their Las Vegas casino – have begun warming to the idea. The team owes more than $200 million and is on track to lose up to $7 million this year, sources say.

If the Maloofs sell to the Hansen group, a tug of war could develop, with the Maloofs and Hansen squaring off against the bidder supported by the city of Sacramento.

Not that this is up to me (none of this is) but, if I could get to chose just one Maloof to retain a tiny minority stake and a single vote (without veto power), and Chris Hansen is the primary ownership decision maker, then I think about that as a possibility. It reduces the cost. Apparently, a few of the Maloof family members really do care about the team, enough to sacrifice some cash and power for the vanity. I consider doing that if all the dollars are essentially the same.

The NBA's board of governors, comprising the league's team owners, would have to approve both a sale and a relocation proposal. The deadline for seeking approval is March 1, although that could be pushed back.

Or not. The league has been dancing around with the Kings for a decade. Do they remember last year? Do they want to drag the deadline out while a second group attempts to assemble a deal worth less than the deal Hansen is assumed to have on the table?

Sacramento officials say a local bidder could actually buy the team more cheaply than Hansen, and the Maloofs would make just as much money.

That's because a local buyer wouldn't have to spend more than $100 million on moving costs – including a league relocation fee of at least $35 million and the immediate repayment of the Kings' debt to the city, which would cost $77 million.

This statement is bad math. That $77 million doesn't just vanish, ever. A matching offer is truly only discounted by the relocation cost.

But, it just looks like the competing dollars are going to work very hard to get there in value, and in time, and maybe still not to the Maloof's liking.

Only time will tell, everything else is a rumor.