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SBD/March 1, 2013/Franchises
Mastrov, Burkle Unveiled As Leaders In Bid To Keep NBA Kings In Sacramento
Published March 1, 2013
RENEWED HOPE: In Seattle, Shannon Fears wrote Johnson’s speech came “before thousands of cheering supporters” and was “long on hope and short on surprises.” He said, “With all due respect to Seattle … it is not going to be this team, our team. No way.” He said that it “could be done as a ‘public-private partnership’ that would not cost taxpayers money or reduce the city’s general fund.” Neither Mastrov nor Burkle were “present for Johnson’s speech” (SEATTLEPI.com, 2/28). In Sacramento, Tony Bizjak noted the speech “took on the atmosphere of a pep rally, with many in the crowd standing and cheering when Johnson took off his jacket to display his purple shirt and tie, and then announced Mastrov's name.” The announcement should “trigger several weeks of intense lobbying by both Sacramento and Seattle, culminating in an NBA vote on April 18 on whether to ratify the deal the Maloof family has struck with Seattle” (SACBEE.com, 2/28). Also in Sacramento, Ailene Voisin writes Johnson “might not be able to pull this off” because the arena “ordeal is a real doozy.” But the mayor “doesn’t give up easily. He doesn’t give up, period.” Voisin: “The end is always near. Las Vegas. San Jose. St. Louis. Anaheim. Virginia Beach. Now Seattle. Don't talk about moving vans and fatal blows to Kevin Johnson, though” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 3/1).
FOOTING THE BILL: CBSSPORTS.com’s Ken Berger noted Mastrov, who “finished second to Joe Lacob and Peter Guber in a bid to buy" the Warriors, is believed to have a net worth of $350M -- "not regarded as enough to stand alone as majority owner in the franchise.” But with the “backing of other investors and Burkle spearheading the arena, Johnson might just have drawn up a compelling enough play to cause owners who will be voting on the fate of the Kings to take notice.” Johnson, who for “three years has fought valiantly as the Maloofs threatened to move the Kings … has forged a potentially potent alternative.” Though the purchase price “isn’t expected to be the sole deciding factor, it’s worth noting that the Mastrov-Burkle bid would not have to meet the Seattle bid to the dollar.” If the team were to “stay in Sacramento, it would save a relocation fee estimated" to be $30M or more and the city's $70M loan "would not have to be repaid.” Thus, the Mastrov-Burkle “apples-to-apples number is approximately" $425M to compete with the Seattle bid. Once the dollars “are resolved, the Maloofs' fellow owners will be in the uncomfortable position of choosing between relocation and the permanent stain it would apply to the NBA brand and an equally undesirable alternative: telling the Maloofs they can't sell their own asset to the buyer of their choosing” (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/28).