Ranadive To Buy Additional 7% Of NBA Kings; Former Investor's Bid Denied
NBA Kings Managing Partner Vivek Ranadive and his partners yesterday in “consolidating their control” of the team “secured a bankruptcy judge's approval to buy another 7 percent share,” according to Dale Kasler of the SACRAMENTO BEE. The judge “turned aside a last-minute purchase offer" from former minority investor Bob Cook, who lost the 7% share "when his real estate empire crumbled.” The stake has been “under the control of a court-appointed trustee since shortly after Cook went bankrupt” in ’11. Buying Cook's share “will increase the Ranadive group's ownership stake" to 72%. Ranadive is buying the share for $15.1M, which will be “distributed among various Cook creditors.” Cook following the Ranadive group’s purchase of the team “made an 11th-hour bid to retrieve his minority share.” Cook's attorney Daniel Weiss yesterday said that Cook had “lined up bank financing to buy the share back” for $16.5M, some $1.4M “more than Ranadive will pay.” But the plan was “dismissed by the trustee, the NBA and ultimately the judge as a risky move compared to the cash-in-hand offer from Ranadive” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 6/11).
FREE BIRD: In Sacramento, Ailene Voisin reported Basketball HOFer Larry Bird is "no longer interested" in the Kings' vacant GM position. Bird was "the highest profile candidate on Ranadive's wish list." Former NBAer Chris Webber "met with Ranadive on at least one occasion," and TNT's Kenny Smith yesterday "revealed that he has spoken to the new owners about a personnel position" (SACBEE.com, 6/10). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said he previously would tell Smith not to take a front-office job because of his success on TNT's "Inside the NBA." Wilbon: "But you know what, Kenny Smith is so great on television. There will be another job awaiting Kenny Smith if he gets ready to come back to television. He should take this. ... I hope they offer it to him and I hope Kenny Smith takes it." ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "I'll say two words here, and those words are Steve Kerr. When you're really good on TV and somebody offers you a job as the general manager job and you take it, even if it doesn't work out, when you're really good on TV you can go back to TV" ("PTI," ESPN, 6/10). ESPN's Pablo Torre wondered about Smith's knowledge of prospects, as his "college basketball coverage hasn't been the strongest." Torre: "I would rather see (the Kings) go an analytical route, get a young data-driven guy." But ESPN's Jackie MacMullan noted Smith has "never had to study the college guys." MacMullan: "If he did, Kenny Smith is smart enough to make that happen. But I don't think it will happen" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 6/10).