A GRIP ON SPORTS
You know how an NBA game usually comes down to the last two minutes? That's sort of how I feel about Chris Hansen's quest to move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle. It will come down to the final two minutes. And those two minutes might not occur for a year or so. Read on.
• Here's the deal. Yes, the NBA's Relocation Committee voted unanimously yesterday to deny any movement by the Kings. And the league's Board of Governor's will more than likely go along with the recommendation. That means Hansen (pictured) won't be able to buy the team and move it to Seattle for next season. But that doesn't mean the battle is over. It's more like late in the third quarter and Hansen's group trails by 25. A comeback is still possible, and the outcome may be more in line with what people in Seattle want. See, Hansen does have a signed agreement to buy the Kings from the Maloffs. Included in that is a non-refundable deposit of $30 million. Now rich people don't get to be, or stay, rich people by just throwing away $30 million. Which makes me believe Hansen is still willing to buy the Kings. That and his statement yesterday that the quest continues. One NBA committee has recommended the team should not be moved. That's the league's right. But would the league say it can't be sold to a well-financed, well-respected group of rich guys who are willing to overpay for it? That would be economic suicide. If the Kings are worth as much as Hansen is willing to pay – and I do believe he will go higher than the $357 million he is already offering for the Maloof's 65 percent of the team – then every other team in the NBA is worth more than folks thought. And that means every other NBA owner is worth more. As I said, rich guys don't stay rich by throwing money away. If Hansen and his group are willing to spend a lot more for the Kings than anyone else – and it looks as if they are – then they'll get to buy the team. And if Hansen buys the Kings from the Maloofs, he becomes part of the NBA ownership clique. A member of an exclusive club if you will. And, like Clay Bennett, who bought the Sonics with the expressed purpose of moving them to Oklahoma City – though he lied to everyone about it – he can begin working on his fellow owners from the inside. Hansen will own the franchise. He can then begin to ask for more and more from Sacramento to keep the team in the city. Owners do that all the time. Or he can be honest (something owners hardly ever do) and just tell the folks there he's going to keep asking the NBA to move until the league finally says yes. Attendance will tank, of course, but that helps Hansen in the long run and bolsters his argument about moving. Sooner or later, he'll get his way, if he's willing to wait and spend some money. The latter part I'm not worried about. The former? I don't know if Hansen is a stubborn man. But if he is and is used to getting his way, I could see him moving ahead with the purchase. If that happens, the rules will be a bit different for the final two minutes. And I wouldn't rule out a late comeback.
• Of course, Hansen could just give up, forfeit the $30 million and go look somewhere else for a team. Or hope for expansion. After all, David Stern is retiring early next year and who knows how designated-successor Adam Silver will view the future of the league.
• Washington State: Before the weather warms up – and we get the two weeks or so of summer around here – Christian Caple looks back at spring football. The biggest question of the spring – who will be the quarterback? – was not answered definitively, though Connor Halliday (pictured) did get the most snaps with the starting unit. Christian also has a morning blog post, as usual. … Jon Wilner looks at the Pac-12's NFL draft picks and how that correlates to wins in conference play. … There will be changes in the Pac-12's basketball rosters next season.
• EWU: Jim Allen switches over to basketball with the news the Eagles have signed two players, a point guard and a forward, in the late period.
• Mariners: Yesterday we sort of ripped Joe Saunders' (pictured) pitching. And then added a disclaimer, saying he would probably pitch well last night. And he did. Real well. His brother (in name only, not in reality) Michael Saunders returned from the disabled list and hit a leadoff home run. And the M's showed fight by rallying after the Orioles had taken the lead, coming back for a 6-2 win. The victory was the M's third consecutive one and fourth in five games. That is officially a “roll.” At least it is by recent Seattle standards.
• Seahawks: A few more thoughts about the Hawks' draft.
• Sonics: Most of the links are interspersed up above, but we saved some for down here, including Jerry Brewer's scathing rebuff of the NBA's logic concerning franchise shifting. … There is joy in Sacramento but wisely, it is tempered joy. And there is sadness in Seattle.
• That's it for today. At least as far as writing is concerned. I have a busy day planned. It's built around an afternoon nap. In other words, a perfect day. Until later …