Ranadivé Wants NBA Kings To Be A "Global Brand;" Sacramento Group Adds Names
NBA Kings bidder Vivek Ranadivé yesterday "laid out an ambitious vision ... for transforming the woebegone franchise into a 'global brand,'" according to Kasler, Lillis & Bizjak of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Ranadivé said that Nexus Venture Partners co-Founder Naren Gupta and Leap Motion President & COO Andy Miller have "joined his effort to block the Kings from moving to Seattle." There are "now seven investors in the group." With just "days remaining before the NBA could decide the team's fate," Ranadivé, 24 Hour Fitness co-Founder Mark Mastrov and former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer & General Counsel Chris Kelly "spoke enthusiastically ... about creating a tech-savvy basketball organization capable of engaging fans the world over." But they offered "no details about their actual purchase offer for the team." Ranadivé "wouldn't say whether his group plans to match the increased offer submitted last Friday by" the group from Seattle, which is "now offering to pay" $357M. Nor would he say if the Sacramento group "has yet filed a written purchase offer with the NBA." Ranadivé said that he believes the group "is now set, although additional investors 'are calling.'" Ranadivé: "My vision is that there are a number of forces shaping the 21st century and the group that I have brought together ... reflects my thinking in terms of what those forces are" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/16).
KING DAVID: NBA.com's David Aldridge wrote NBA Commissioner David Stern is "a master manipulator, but he doesn't always step in." A source said that Kings Owner the Maloof family, who have "never changed their minds about preferring to complete their deal" with hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, "believe that Stern has indeed gone above and beyond in helping Sacramento's bid." But they also believe that he is "acting in the way a commissioner is expected to -- to try and keep franchises where they are, while also making the most money he can for the other owners" (NBA.com, 4/15).
FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT: In Sacramento, Ailene Voisin writes, "The Kings are the story this week, but only part of the story. Win, lose, expansion -- Sacramento is the story." The city "didn't stumble meekly into the night." It "didn't cower under the massive weight of the undertaking." The "movers and shakers have been heard." Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson assembled a group that "likely would have crushed the opposition if the Seattle bidders didn't include" Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Stern would be "insane to abandon a proven franchise and walk away from a group that seemingly dropped from the heavens" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/16).