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SBD/May 15, 2013/Franchises
NBA Kings Owner Committed To Seattle, But Does Not Rule Out Sacramento Sale
Published May 15, 2013
RATTLING THE CAGE: NBCSPORTS.com’s Aaron Bruski cited sources as saying that Ballmer has “taken on a larger role in decision-making for the Seattle ownership group.” Sources said that “the same bravado he has employed with Microsoft is turning heads” at the NBA, and “not in a good way.” Sources said that the “recent power plays made by Seattle and the Maloof family have ‘started to weigh on the NBA to the point where any Ballmer-led proposal now or in the future could fall on deaf ears if he doesn’t change course.’” A source said that if the Seattle group continues to “pursue a scorched earth policy with the Sacramento marketplace, they would jeopardize the city’s ability to secure an NBA team down the road should an opportunity present itself” (NBCSPORTS.com, 5/14).
SEATTLE SLIPPING AWAY? In Seattle, Danny Westneat writes if the NBA today votes against selling the Kings to the Seattle group, “Don’t count out the possibility that whatever political momentum there was for building an arena and bringing back the Sonics might dry up and blow away.” City council member Tim Burgess said, “If they say ‘no,’ there is going to be some energy that dissipates around here, I’m sure of that.” City council member Tom Rasmussen said, “I’m not sold on the idea of an arena yet.” Rasmussen added that he is “opposed to the idea of allowing an L.A. Live entertainment complex” in the Sodo area of the city. Burgess said if Seattle loses today’s vote, “I’m honestly not sure what will happen to the council’s support. We put together a pretty strong coalition. To be told ‘no,’ though, it would be quite a blow” (SEATTLE TIMES, 5/15).
KINGS' COURT: The BEE’s Lillis, Bizjak & Kasler report three city residents yesterday filed a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court “alleging the city has broken the law on several fronts” in its $448M downtown arena deal. The suit “contends the city fraudulently under-valued the size of the subsidy it is providing developers as part of a tentative deal to build a sports and entertainment arena in Downtown Plaza.” The plaintiffs allege the city "concealed or suppressed material facts" and Johnson and City Manager John Shirey "failed to disclose in the Term Sheet ... that they had privately agreed with the Sacramento Investor Group to subsidize its purchase of the Kings franchise." The group led by Ranadive “signed a deal in February with the city to partner in building an arena” to keep the Kings in the city. The lawsuit alleges that this public-private partnership with a group of investors “amounts to an illegal give-away of public funds” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 5/15).