Today's news of a demand for a binding, written offer seems like a game changer but I don't think it really is.
Next week the NBA will have to make a decision that will effect their multi-billion dollar brand for 35 years. It makes sense that, if they are going to give Sacramento any consideration at all they would want time to take the deal and have it properly reviewed by legal counsel to ensure that it is REALLY, REALLY binding.
I mean, how stupid would they look if they blocked Seattle, said "no" to the deal and then the lead investor of the transaction backed out and was replaced by another guy? What if it turns out that this investor brought in within the last 48 hours had in fact invested only a smaller amount, potentially as a favor to his friend the mayor.
A Friday deadline provides time for adequate legal review of a complex contract so that they can determine whether there is really anything to talk about in NY next week. If there is no match then the decision is really an easy one. if there is a match that is vetted and confirmed to be fully binding and non-contingent then they can make a ruling either way based on criteria that only they know.
So it is put up or shut up time for Sacramento. They've been talking up their offer for a long time now. Will they have a press conference to declare that they will match the offer?
It should be noted that mayor Kevin Johnson declared that a partner had matched terms for the 7% share of the team held in bankruptcy but upon review the tweet was a little misleading. The partner has merely delivered a nonbinding letter of interest and must follow up by Friday to actually file a legitimate bid in order for this to deliver the share to Sacramento.
My feeling on this 7% is that it is probably not overly meaningful. The partner has little to lose in filing an offer. If he buys it out of bankruptcy and they lose the team he can simply turn around and sell it to Hansen for a profit. The only reason I see him taking a pass is if he either doesn't have the money or thinks this whole thing has gotten ugly and he would prefer not to be involved.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Big News! Kings limited partner files intent to match offer on 7% with trustee. It's staying in Sacramento! <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23PlayingToWin">#PlayingToWin</a></p>— Kevin Johnson (@KJ_MayorJohnson) <a href="https://twitter.com/KJ_MayorJohnson/status/319296509957005313">April 3, 2013</a></blockquote>
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Its looking like an interesting couple of days ahead. By Friday we should know whether the 7% was purchased and maybe we will get an update about a whether a matching offer was submitted. It will be a tense couple of days for all the fans in the meantime.
Great work by the SacBee and King5 News today. Solid reporting by all the real players.
Have faith in Chris Hansen! GoSonics!