HoopsHype Kevin Johnson rumors

April 12, 2013 Updates

Conversely, if the Seattle bid for majority ownership (a league-record $525 million valuation headed by Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer) is approved by the Board of Governors, then the minority stake surely would be approved as well. In essence, Johnson and his people have decided this subplot is not a factor at the moment and that they would prefer to react to the NBA's processes rather than follow through on their initial approach. It is a don't-sweat-the-small-stuff move that comes at a time when it seems increasingly possible that they might pull off the biggest of upsets. USA Today Sports

This is a good problem to have for Stern and his successor, deputy commissioner Adam Silver. They clearly are smitten with the potential global impact that could come with Sacramento's lead investor, Indian software tycoon Vivek Ranadive, but might have a hard time denying Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his deep pockets. Rumors of expansion as the potential solution to satisfy both sides persist, but Stern has said consistently it is not an option at the moment. The reality remains that one city will go home unhappy. The Sacramento group needs eight votes to block the agreed-upon deal that is in place with the Seattle investment group and the Maloof family that owns the team. The Sacramento group, headed by former NBA point guard and Mayor Kevin Johnson, hopes the board will accept its deal that is expected to match the Seattle group's. Whichever way this goes, Stern's final say will guide it. USA Today Sports

April 11, 2013 Updates

Source: Sacramento could have a harder time keeping Kevin Johnson than keeping the Kings at this point. As it stands, if the current Sacramento group matches the essential elements of the agreement with the group in Seattle, the league committee weighing the two offers is expected to recommend keeping the Kings where they are. Vivek Ranadive, the Warriors minority owner who picked up the flag for Sacramento, has been a game-changer, second only to Johnson, sources say. The former NBA point guard, one source says, has blown away NBA owners with his preparation and delivery to the point they want to find a way to get him into the league front office. Sulia

The great people of Sacramento have a lot to worry about, but this so-called Maloof deadline is not one of them: The Sacramento Bee reported this afternoon that the Kings owners have given the group from Sacramento trying to roadblock Seattle until Friday at 5 p.m. to submit a written backup offer to buy the team in the event the NBA turns down the Seattle bid. What the Bee does not report is what happens if mayor Kevin Johnson, Mark Mastrov, Vivek Ranadive et al miss the deadline. Nothing. It's great strategy by the Maloofs, presumably as a coordinated effort, or at the very least in consultation, with the Seattle group -- give Sacramento one more item it has to deal with while playing catch up, sometimes awkwardly, in the final days before a possible vote by the Board of Governors. And it's the latest very clear sign the Maloofs are digging in and willing to show their teeth. But there's no there there. Sulia

The deadline is a negotiating tactic. If it's missed, it will not signify a permanent end to negotiations. It might not even signify an end for the month if the governors turn down Seattle. (If Seattle is approved, of course, everything else become moot.) Sulia

Kevin Johnson on Maloofs: "They believe in our ownership group." "People don't understand it. I've got a good relationship with the Maloofs. Publicly we may differ on occasion or more. But behind the scenes, we have great conversations. They know that I'm fighting like crazy to keep the team here. They believe in our ownership group. When you look at dollars and cents, it's gonna be very comparable, which was important to us. We have an investment from the city of $258 million for a brand new arena downtown. And our market is one of the best basketball markets, one of the best one team markets in all of sports." Sulia

April 10, 2013 Updates

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has announced a new investor to help fill the role vacated by billionaire Ron Burkle in the city's bid to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle. Johnson said at his weekly news conference Tuesday that Sacramento developer Mark Friedman has joined the group. The announcement comes a day after Burkle backed out because of a conflict of interest stemming from his ownership stake in Relativity Sports, which manages some NBA players' careers. USA Today Sports

Following the announcement of the Seattle deal, they were first to step up publicly in the effort to keep the Kings in Sacramento. Now a group of local investors is seeing its role change in the capital city’s fight to retain its only major pro franchise. The group of 20-plus local investors assembled by mayor Kevin Johnson back in January is now part of the major bid led by Vivek Ranadivé to purchase the team from the Maloofs. “We are now part of the general partnership,” said real estate executive Phil Oates, one of the investors pledging $1 million each in the effort to buy the Kings. “The percentages still have to be worked out. But we share, on a much smaller level, in their (the major equity investor’s) profits.” Cowbell Kingdom

Structural changes to the group intending to purchase and keep the Kings in Sacramento won’t affect the city’s non- binding contract to build a new arena. That according to city manager John Shirey, who spoke to reporters at city hall today following the introduction of Mark Friedman to the prospective ownership team led by Vivek Ranadivé. Shirey says he consulted with city attorney James Sanchez on the matter. According to the city manager, Sanchez explained to him that the term sheet city council approved two weeks ago with a 7-2 vote doesn’t need to be adjusted because “the fundamental issues, all the terms, they don’t change.” Cowbell Kingdom

April 9, 2013 Updates

Sacramento developer Mark Friedman said today he's joining the bid to buy the Kings and build the team a new arena at Downtown Plaza. Friedman said today he'll also participate in the non-arena development that's being proposed for the Downtown Plaza site. Sacramento Bee

Friedman's emergence comes one day after Mayor Kevin Johnson revealed that Southern California billionaire Ron Burkle had to reduce his role in the project because of a conflict of interest. Johnson hinted at a press conference Monday that there might be additional changes in the ownership structure. But Friedman said he's been contemplating jumping into the Kings bid for a while. "I've been talking to Vivek (Ranadive) and Mark Mastrov for a couple of months," Friedman said, referring to the lead investors in the bid for the Kings. Sacramento Bee

Speaking at a press event at the Downtown Plaza this afternoon, Johnson stated that Burkle’s changing role has no effect on the structure of the deal to build a new arena at the mall. “We knew that this was flagged early,” Johnson said. ”We were trying to work our way through it in New York when we spoke to the NBA owners. We addressed this issue. They felt very comfortable with our answer. “One of the issues was if Ron could stay in – great, we’ll move forward,” he continued. ”If he can’t, then Vivek (Ranadivé) is going to lead that charge both on team and the arena and we won’t miss a beat. And they were comfortable with that.” Cowbell Kingdom

April 8, 2013 Updates

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