Would be Sonics owner Chris Hansen announced today that he has upped his valuation of the Sacramento Kings by another $75 million, bringing the total franchise value to an unprecedented $625 million. The previous NBA record was the sale of the Golden State Warriors for $450 million just a few years back in 2010.
This new move raises his offer for the Maloof family's 65 percent share of the Kings by $49 million to over $406 million. "While we appreciate that this is a very difficult decision for the league and owners, we hope it is understood that we really believe the time is now to bring the NBA back to Seattle," Hansen wrote in a post to his website.
The Maloofs were already being leaned on by the league to accept a lower offer from a Sacramento investment group. Passing up an additional $49 million makes that an even tougher ask.
This all raises the possibility that Hansen could end up owning the team, but without permission from the league to move it to Seattle. Awkward. But also interesting, in that it would put the Kings in the same sort of limbo the Sonics were in immediately after Clay Bennett purchased the team.
Remember, the Sacramento arena deal is awfully tenuous, and with the proposed local ownership group out of the picture, doesn't really even exist. If Hansen purchases the team—with or without the league's blessing—it could kill the arena deal. And without an arena, there's no reason for keeping the Kings in Sacramento.
It's a pretty ballsy move on Hansen's part.