E.C. Laloosh wrote:Two pages w/out Sacramento posters... Are they pulling a Blitzer? Come in off of the ledge, boys.
Don't you have some salmon to smoke or something, hide the salmon, or whatever you do with salmon up there. I've been busy and tired of comments like "come in off the ledge" when Sacramento is clearly in the drivers seat right now.
Sacramento is in the driver's seat? How do you figure?
At this point, all the NBA can do is loudly proclaim that they will refuse to allow the team to be relocated.
What the NBA can not legally do:
1) Force the Maloofs to sell to anyone, much less the Sacramento group
2) Refuse to allow the Maloofs to sell (barring a clear conflict of interest)
3) Set any artificial barriers on any sales agreement or artifically manipulate the valuation of a member franchise
What you Sacramento folks don't seem to get is that a sales agreement between the Maloofs and the Hansen group has already been signed, sealed and delivered. Funds have already been deposited to escrow. To both the seller (Maloofs) and the purchaser (Hansen/Ballmer group), an agreement has already been reached reflecting the true market value of the franchise.
After this sale was negotiated and the deal closed, the NBA interfered on behalf of a secondary group of buyers (whom I will refer to as the Sacramento Group). The NBA negotiated the terms of an agreement outside of the existing transaction and without the consent or knowledge of the Maloofs (seller). The value of this deal is actually lower than the existing negotiated sale.
At this point, the NBA is blindly hoping that the Hansen/Ballmer group will walk away from their existing purchase agreement, surrendering the deposit and releasing any interest in the Kings. That is the reason the NBA voted first to prohibit the relocation of the Kings franchise. That is their ace and they have played it. The NBA hopes that if the Ballmer group realizes they won't be able to move the Kings, then they will just drop the sale.
However, the NBA can not legally interfere with the actual sale without clearly violating the Sherman Act. The problem for the NBA is that their negotation with a third potential buyer (Sacramento Group) is just smoke and mirrors. It has no legal teeth and means nothing other than, "Hey, if we refuse to let you sell to Hansen, then there's this other deal over here waiting for you."
Unless the NBA can prove in court that the existing Hansen/Ballmer offer represents a natural conflict of interest for the NBA, they have no legal justification to reject the sale. Doing so would artificially manipulate the market for the member franchise, to the detriment of both the seller and purchaser as agreed on the "fair market", and would be in violation of the Sherman Act. There is specific language in the Sherman Act that prevents the price fixing of franchises. If the NBA steps in and interferes with the sale, forcing the seller to accept a lower offer, this would be a textbook case of market manipulation as prohibited by the Sherman Act. And there are currently a cadre of very successful, very intelligent attorneys preparing for this argument right now. It should upset you Sacramento fans to learn that the Maloofs are rumored to be on this side of the fight.
All the Sacramento Group can hope for at this point is that the Maloofs will tire of the fight and sign a deal that is unfavorable to them. The moment they accept that deal, then the Hansen/Ballmer group would have a much tougher fight in court. At that point, the Maloofs could argue that the deal they accepted was set by the market and whatever terms were included made it an equal offer.
However, that has not happened, and many sources close to the fight (including the Maloofs) are publicly saying that it won't happen.
If the NBA can't sweet-talk the Maloofs into selling to the Sacramento Group, then the Hansen/Ballmer group will continue their purchase of the Kings and the fight will continue. Again, the NBA is fully aware they can not stop the purchase because they can not prove any actual conflict of interest. Again, many sources close to the deal (including Hansen himself) are stating that the Hansen group has gone quiet because he fully intends to purchase the Kings and move forward. That is hardly a win for Sacramento.
Once Hansen purchases the Kings, anything can happen. But if you're foolish enough to believe that Sacramento is in the driver seat, then you must not be paying attention. The Maloofs have already stated that they will not accept the Sacramento offer, and that in fact, no offer from Sacramento will ever be possible.
But please, do keep entertaining me with your hope. It's almost cute in a sad kind of way.