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Sunday's news that the Maloof brothers had agreed on a deal to sell the Kings to a Seattle-based group is a blow to Sacramento, but their only chance to keep their team remains the same.
The news that the Maloof brothers had agreed on a deal to sell their stake in the Sacramento Kings to the Seattle-based Chris Hansen group is certainly a blow to the city of Sacramento, but it doesn't really change the game for them in any way. Sacramento's path to keeping the Kings always rested in Mayor Kevin Johnson's last-ditch attempt to get the NBA Board of Governors to block the Seattle sale, and that remains true despite the Maloof brothers coming to an agreement with Hansen's group.
Ok, first off, everyone take a deep breath. Tonight seems like a bombshell, but we knew this was coming. We knew that the Kings would be sold. We knew it was likely that they would be sold to the Seattle-based Hansen-Ballmer group. We knew that the final battle would be fought with Mayor Kevin Johnson presenting to the NBA Board of Governors. None of that has changed. What happened tonight was the logical and inevitable next step. So while tonight's news is unnerving, take a deep breath.
The chance of Johnson convincing the Board of Governors is unlikely, but they will at least hear him out. Johnson will be allowed to present a counteroffer that would keep the team in Sacramento and try to convince the Board of Governors that his bid is a better alternative to the Seattle one. If the board accepts his positioning, they could force the Maloofs to sell to the Sacramento group.
It would be an unprecedented situation, to be fair. The closest comparison is when the NBA's relocation committee rejected a deal that would have sold the Minnesota Timberwolves to a New Orleans-based group in 1994, but in this case, the relocation committee's approval of the sale is reportedly a "formality." That leaves the Board of Governors as Sacramento's last hope for keeping the Kings.
The city won't give up, but this is certainly a long shot.