There are news reports and then there are news reports.
Old school journalist (in our eyes anyway) Chris Daniels dropped a whopper of one on us last night that brings both much needed clarity and a whole lot more chaos to our situation.
NBA SOURCES SAY...
For months now in our struggle to move an NBA franchise from the great City of Sacramento to the great City of Seattle, we've seen two completely different narratives emerge from the respective towns.
The narrative has been that an approved request to purchase and relocate the Kings is inevitable. Sources close to and within the NBA have made it clear that the the league is extremely impressed with the Hansen group and looks forward to welcoming a proven and colorful NBA market back into the fold.
It's been said that the league is very tired of the Sacramento issue and the Maloofs and that it wants to put the matter to bed once and for all. Erasing the black eye from 2008 wouldn't hurt either.
The narrative has been that the NBA is loathe to turn its back on a city that has done EVERYTHING the NBA has asked it to do and has tried relentlessly to get an arena done, in spite of bad ownership.
It has been said that, while the NBA is truly intrigued by Hansen's group, they don't want another black eye caused by an ugly relocation. It has also been said that the NBA is "holding Sacramento's hand" through this entire process to keep the team where it is.
Which narrative is correct?
The answer to that question seems to be yes.
According to the Daniels report, outgoing NBA Commissioner David Stern is not only sympathetic to Sacramento's situation, but is actively working behind the scenes to undermine the Hansen bid. Stern has reportedly gone out of his way to help put the ownership group together. "One guy has to drop out of your group? Don't worry about it. I'll find you another."
The good folks of Sactown Royalty, to their credit, have been saying this all along.
Daniels also alludes, however, that there is a growing rift between Stern and the NBA owners, who ARE very impressed with the Seattle group and would prefer to relocate the team to a stronger market in Seattle.
The good folks of Sonics Rising, to our credit, have been saying this all along.
So, if the report is accurate, we have clarity now. Both narratives have been true because there is a rift within the ranks of the NBA. Sacramento's sources are likely allied with Stern. Seattle's sources likely side with the owners.
With that clarity, however, comes even more chaos. Are these reports true? How will things turn out? Will Stern sway the owners to honor his departing request or will the owners spurn him and snicker as the the door hits him in the keister on his way out? I don't know, but don't blink at any time in the next eight days or you'll miss another major development.
Fortunately for Seattle, Stern has no vote in this matter. Fortunately for Sacramento, he is still a man of serious influence.
REGIONAL SPORTS NETWORK
Not to be missed in Daniels' report is word that Hansen has some projected numbers for a potential RSN, should the purchase and relocation of the team be approved...
Sources also said Hansen has now put a price tag on potential Regional Television Network revenues in Seattle – more than $40 million dollars a year, or more than 80 percent more than what was estimated for Sacramento in a like deal. The number was used to illustrate the support for an NBA franchise and potential to pay down debt associated with construction of a new arena.
NEW ARENA NEWS
Daniels also pointed out that Hansen believes the new arena could be completed much more quickly than we've been anticipating...
King County Executive Dow Constantine said last week this was a key point in the presentation. Hansen told owners he believed a new Seattle arena could open in September 2015, according to those people with knowledge of the presentation. That would be earlier than previously expected. A source said a Master Use Permit could be filed as early as next week.
Several people with knowledge of the process said Wednesday that owners were impressed by the scope of the presentation, and several appeared to be leaning Seattle’s way.
KEY ARENA LEASE
Last, but not least in the Daniels' report, is the mention that Hansen has a lease agreement in place for Key Arena next season, subject to approval of Seattle City Council...
A key source indicates Hansen told owners he has an agreement, as of last month, with the City of Seattle to operate Key Arena. That deal would have to be approved by the city council if league owners sign off on Hansen’s purchase of the Kings.