Maloof Family Prefers Seattle's Bid For Kings; Owners Tight-Lipped About Discussions
NBA Kings Owner the Maloof family is weighing "competing offers" for the team and on Thursday said that they "want to press ahead with the deal they've made with investors from Seattle," according to Lillis, Kasler & Bizjak of the SACRAMENTO BEE. A source said that the statement is the "strongest indication yet that the Maloofs favor the Seattle deal over a backup offer from investors trying to keep the team in Sacramento." The NBA BOG finishes its meeting Friday, but is not expected to vote on the Kings' fate "for at least two more weeks." Meanwhile, it remained "unclear whether the Maloofs would sell to Sacramento's bidders if the Seattle deal is vetoed." Disagreements have "developed between the Maloofs and the Sacramento group," led by Warriors Vice Chair Vivek Ranadivé, "over some of the terms of Ranadive's backup offer." A source said that Sacramento's counteroffer to Seattle hedge fund manager Chris Hansen's recent offer "calls on the Maloofs to scrap the Hansen deal before it comes to a vote." The source said that another possible "sticking point is that Sacramento's bid isn't a binding offer." Meanwhile, Warriors co-Owner Joe Lacob on Thursday said that he "encouraged Ranadive to pursue the Kings." Lacob: "I wish him the best." Asked if it would help the Warriors financially to have the Kings leave Northern California, Lacob said, "I don't think we look at it that way. I don't think that's an issue" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/19).
INSIDE THE MEETING: In Seattle, Bob Condotta writes "much work still remains" to be done. Pelicans Owner Tom Benson on Thursday said that the BOG is just now "getting into the meat and coconuts" of the Kings issue. The BOG is "scheduled to meet again Friday morning and afternoon, after which NBA commissioner David Stern is expected to meet formally with the media." The BOG on Thursday "met for about six hours and concluded" around 9:00pm ET. There was "undeniably little talking publicly about what may have been said, however, as owners and other officials emerged from the meetings here at the St. Regis Hotel in midtown Manhattan decidedly tight-lipped." Trail Blazers BOD member Peter McLoughlin, who was filling at the meeting for Owner Paul Allen, said, "It's very confidential at this point." Kings co-Owner George Maloof "tried to sneak out a hotel side door," but ended up speaking to reporters. Maloof "revealed little other than that the family hoped 'to get it over with at some point' and that he expects the decision to come in May." Several owners on Thursday reiterated that expansion is "not being discussed" (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/19).
GOING GLOBAL: In Sacramento, Joe Davidson writes much like former NBAer Yao Ming "helped increase the NBA's popularity in his native China last decade, imagine what the league could do in India should Ranadive and his group gain NBA ownership approval." At halftime of Wednesday's season finale, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson "beamed during a private moment and talked about the untapped frontier that is India." The NBA already "has an office in Mumbai with six employees marketing the league" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/19).