The pending sale of the Sacramento Kings franchise has polarized pockets of NBA fans across the nation, and now the contentious bidding process has created a rift between Commissioner David Stern and NBA team owners, according to a report by of King5.com. Stern has been "quietly maneuvering behind the scenes to propel a Sacramento counter bid" and has even been "personally seeking investors" to join the ownership group committed to keeping the team in Sacramento:
Multiple sources suggested Wednesday that a split has emerged between Stern and team owners over the fate of the Kings. Those sources, spanning the league and governments in Sacramento and Seattle, said Stern has been quietly maneuvering behind the scenes to propel a Sacramento counter bid. They said he has been personally seeking investors to join a new Kings ownership group -- even after several NBA team owners last week indicated their willingness to move the franchise to Seattle.
Stern has helped to push the Sacramento proposal along in a variety of ways. In March he provided some subtle sign posts to Mayor Kevin Johnson and the local investor group about the quality of their bid in relation to the original offer from a Seattle-based group of investors made back in January. Since then both sides have made formal presentations to a group of NBA owners, and apparently some of those owners came away more impressed with the Seattle side -- in part because Seattle projected that a new arena could be ready by 2015.
A league vote from the owners could come as early as next week, but it's ultimately unclear when a definitive resolution will be reached. However, it appears clear that Stern is doing everything in his power to make sure Sacramento can bring their best and most competitive offer to the table in the process. Even if it ruffles a few feathers with the owners around the league.
For comprehensive coverage of the Kings' bid and the sale of the franchise, be sure to check out this stream at Sactown Royalty.