There are times, and places, and things, and all that goody goody bullshit, where having really wealthy people on your side matters. Keeping the Kings in Sacramento is obviously one of those times.
Sam Amick, of USA Today vintage, writes this:
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, 24-Hour Fitness Founder Mark Mastrov and billionaire Ron Burkle – who is part owner of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins – are in serious talks to collaborate on a bid to buy the Kings. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the talks. The fact that the two men are willing to join forces is seen as significant by Sacramento supporters. There are five potential owners currently in play, but Mastrov and Burkle are seen as the heaviest hitters among that group.
Well, it's quite possible that Eli Broad ends up in this too as Broad has ties to the Maloofs apparently, but also because Broad was an owner in Jim Thomas' ownership group that owned the Kings in the '90's.
Because if Eli Broad, Ron Burkle and Mark Mastrov are the 3 majority partners of ownership, that's some serious money and backing. About 10 billion dollars worth. (Might be only 9.5 billion. Oh damn.) So for all the talk about "all" the money that Seattle has, anyone who thinks that 20 million matters more than 9.5 million (or vice versa) is missing the point: You have 2 serious ownership groups wanting teams.
If an arena deal that the NBA agrees with, and the bid by at least Mastrov/Burkle is good enough, the Kings have an excellent shot at staying in Sacramento.
Any way you slice it, this is very good news. There are details to be worked out, and there is a long way to go. But perhaps, it's no longer 80-20 in odds of Seattle. It seems like there is very much real odds that a 50-50 type thing may be in real play, and, for my liking anyway, Sacramento might end up winning this game after all. Since these things usually come down to money, and since money can be at least approached by this group, there seems to be a strong chance that Sacramento is very much in this game.
As far as Larry Ellison? My greatest concern about Burkle was that he wouldn't bid enough, but really I think with partners that eases my concerns a great deal. If Eli Broad is involved, I have no concerns. The question is will they be willing to pay the dough or not. I have no idea. But if they've gotten this far, than it means they are seriously considering what their bid will be. With Ellison, I had no idea that he would ever get in the game or not. As far as the San Jose stuff, that was one issue. Another, and I've never expressed this before because I never thought about it, but Ellison is 68 years old. It's not 80 years old (Broad's age), but it's old enough to be concerned about if you're the NBA. Long term viability as an owner is certainly a consideration that the NBA has to take in consideration when undertaking the vetting process of new ownership. Certainly, Ellison if he agreed to certain things always could come into play regardless of age, but how long he would be willing to own has to be a concern. And, as many people have astutely pointed out, there was never any guarantee Ellison would accept some of the limitations that the NBA would place with his being an owner.
The main point, though, again, is that there is serious ownership (not anyone we hadn't heard might be involved) behind Kevin Johnson working to buy the Kings. There is a real chance, and I'm feeling a bit optimistic (even though I should know better) that there is a chance that an ownership group keeps the team in Sacramento. Even better, Burkle himself is said to prefer the Downtown Mall instead of the Railyards site.
If this holds true, Sacramento might be in for some truly good times ahead. Let's hope it does, shall we?
Cautiously optimistic. That's where I'm at. Until the NBA approves the sale, that's where I'm at. But I feel a lot better than I did 48 hours ago no question.
Cautiously optimistic. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.