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But now that Seattle’s advances have been rebuffed by the NBA, sources say it’s Ballmer that has taken on a larger role in decision-making for the Seattle ownership group. The polar opposite of the soft-spoken hedge fund manager in Hansen – Ballmer is known for being loud and outrageous. Vanity Fair ran a seething piece (Microsoft’s Lost Decade) last August detailing a violent incident and more. NBCSports.com
Now that Ballmer has taken on a larger role with the Seattle group, league sources tell PBT that the same bravado he has employed with Microsoft is turning heads at the league office – and not in a good way. It’s no secret that Ballmer is a handful — but a well-connected and filthy rich handful that the NBA would love to have in its stable. At least that was the case. According to league sources speaking to PBT under condition of anonymity, 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.” NBCSports.com
When asked to clarify, the source said that should the Seattle group continue 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. When asked how Seattle got to that point, several sources with knowledge of the situation have told PBT that once they recognized the Sacramento bid was likely to meet league requirements, and ultimately secure the Kings, then decision-making for Seattle’s strategy and PR effort slowly shifted into Ballmer’s hands. That strategy has been at odds with the due process the NBA has been following, and recently it has been at odds with the NBA itself. NBCSports.com
“He’s on a rampage,” said one source. “He assumed he could backdoor Sacramento with a willing partner in the Maloofs, but he underestimated Sacramento and now he thinks he can twist enough arms around the league to force his way into the association.” NBCSports.com
A committee of NBA owners who have been studying the future of the Sacramento Kings met Monday but did not change their position to recommend the team be kept in Sacramento and not moved to Seattle, a source told ESPN.com. A final full vote on the matter is expected at owners' meetings Wednesday in Dallas. It remains unclear, however, who will own the Kings after Wednesday's meetings. ESPN.com
Dale Kasler: For those who've asked: I think this relo/fin conf call was just to update. No votes taken. I guess Apr 29 relo recommendation still stands Twitter
Seattle fans are waiting to find out whether they’ll get a new NBA team soon, but that doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten how the SuperSonics were taken from them in 2008. Seattle rapper Macklemore, one of the breakout stars of 2013, got wind that the Oklahoma City Thunder have been using his song “Can’t Hold Us” to pump the crowd up at home games, and reacted about how you’d expect. For The Win
A source familiar with the agreement, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of this week's NBA talks, said Hansen would strengthen the team's balance sheet as it enters into arena talks with the city of Sacramento. Even though Hansen has said his dream is to revive the Seattle SuperSonics, the Maloof-Hansen group would nonetheless make a good-faith effort to jointly finance an arena in Sacramento, the source insisted. Should a Sacramento arena deal fall through, sources said, the team likely would seek NBA approval a second time to move to Seattle. The deal would allow Hansen to purchase a controlling interest in the team – at a price that valued the entire team at $625 million – within the next two years, subject to NBA approval. Those details were laid out in a memo Friday from NBA executives to team owners, a source said. Sacramento Bee
The Hansen-Ballmer agreement to purchase 65 percent of the team from the Maloofs would now be based on a valuation of $550 million, an increase of $25 million. Now, Hansen has sweetened the pot again -- increasing the franchise valuation by another $75 million as part of a backup plan to buy 20 percent of the team from the Maloofs if owners formally reject relocation on Wednesday in Dallas. CBSSports.com
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