EVEN the most nostalgic Sonics fans must share a little nagging question about Chris Hansen’s bid to buy the Sacramento Kings. Where is all the money coming from?
Oh, he is partnered with folks with lots of deep pockets, but the purchase offer has climbed about $100 million from the original offer, and as the NBA Board of Governors gathers Wednesday in Dallas, there is that extra, um, gratuity on the table.
Why is there a nickel of public money in play on the Seattle end of the deal, if Hansen and company can turn on the money spigot at will?
The NBA’s Relocation/Finance Committee chatted on Monday with great anticipation, but reportedly left unchanged last month’s 7-0 vote not to endorse the Kings’ move to Seattle.
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The latest wrinkle is a so-called relocation fee, a $115 million inducement for the 29 NBA team owners to approve the sale — and take home around 4 million bucks apiece.
Back here in Puget Sound, the community is still reconciling an arena deal that is not only in the wrong location for the economic health of the region, but also looks to the city of Seattle and King County for financial aid.
Hansen and his investors are using public credit to reduce borrowing costs, and the city is repaid with fan-generated revenues and taxes.
Why don’t the investors pay for it all themselves? They do not seem to have trouble finding extra cash.
Indeed, the latest perks to close the Sacramento deal get close to covering the local government share of this cost-shifting exercise.
This whole deal, with layers of offers, inducements and dueling arena schemes, must give NBA owners pause. What is all this cleverness setting up for them in the future?
Team owners, think about what comes next. The advice hardly competes with nearly $4 million per owner, but it is a good tip.