Home What's Brewing? NBA Sonics vs. Kings Fans in Live Internet Showdown. Slam Dunk or...

NBA Sonics vs. Kings Fans in Live Internet Showdown. Slam Dunk or Air Ball?

Slam dunk or air ball? The NBA basketball “net” has met the Inter-“net” online chat room, and the potential “net” profit picture of two potential locations for an NBA team, one sold away from its fan base in 2006 after a storied legacy and an NBA World Championship, and the other with attendance lagging and mired in bankruptcy and arena issues in 2013.

The question on the line is this: Will the Seattle investment group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and involving none other than the Nordstrom family and one Steve Ballmer, be successful in recruiting the Maloof family to sell their controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise and resurrect the Seattle Supersonics franchise? That question appeared to have been answered only one week ago. Has the final buzzer sounded?

For perhaps the first time in history, the “Net” itself may have something to say about which way the ball bounces. The “sounding board,” like a hoop’s backboard, is allowing the two teams’ advocates, journalists and fans to fight for the “post” position by posting their thoughts in a Live Chat session, like the one held just this morning.

“Posts, Boards, the Net?”

Yes, the puns fly high, and abound, just like NBA rebounds!

Already the ball has careened off the rim into foul (smelling) territory. Just a few days ago, a trustee who controls 7 percent of the Sacramento Kings team declared that the team’s limited partners are being denied their legal right to match a Seattle investment group’s purchase offer for the team.

Technical foul? A source close to the Maloofs said recently that the family doesn’t believe the limited partners have a right of first refusal. The Maloofs control 65 percent, the limiteds control the rest.

The “right of refusal” question is heading toward a hearing next Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento. A limited partner taking control of an NBA franchise is not unprecedented. Michael Jordan executed a right of first refusal to buy the Charlotte Bobcats in 2010. But the bankruptcy picture and stadium financing make this a different story.

In the meantime, fans and sportswriters had a chance to square off by elevating their remarks to a chat board moderated by Seattle Times reporter Lynn Thompson and Sacramento Bee columnist Marcos Breton.  Other reporters from both newspapers chimed in during the confab.

A very interesting column by Art Thiel, longtime Seattle columnist, on Seattle support for the Sonics – support that slipped after the 1998 NBA lockout http://sportspressnw.com/2013/01/thiel-1-billion-question-nba-will-ask-about-seattle/ is here.

Admittedly, according to Sacramento Bee business editor, May Lynne Vellinga, attendance for Kings games has fallen off due to the team’s performance, uncertainty over whether it they will be here and general unhappiness with the way the owners have conducted themselves.Is an expansion team for Seattle a possibility?  Seattle Time’s sportswriter Bob Condotta opined: ” The NBA, or to be exact David Stern, has repeatdly said in recent years that expansion is not an option. I think if Chris Hansen had thought expansion was an option, he would not have tried to buy the Kings. He bought the Kings because I think he was led to believe by the NBA that buying an existing team is the only option. However, nothing sports leagues say is written in stone.”
Were other teams in play?

Two teams that appeared potentially movable when Hansen got all this started were New Orleans and Memphis. Each has since been sold and is staying put. Memphis has a particularly good lease with its city there that makes it almost impossible to move. If Seattle had had that kind of lease with the Sonics, the Sonics would still be here.


Will this come down to a Battle of the Bids?

Dale Kessler, sacbee.com: I don’t think anyone in Sacramento believes that a matching offer from Sacramento will automatically kill the Hansen deal. But there is a belief that a matching (or higher) offer from Sacramento, complete with an arena financing package, will give the Board of Gov’s a lot to think about.

Replays of this chat are available on the Kings blog at www.sacbee.com/kingsblog and on The Seattle Times website at www.seattletimes.com.

One thing’s for sure. At least Seattle fans are not lying to “Sacto” fans about keeping the team in Sacramento. That would be unfair and unjust! [24×7]