With the fate of an NBA franchise at stake, the ownership groups competing for the Sacramento Kings -- one trying to move them to Seattle, one trying to keep them in California's capital -- will plead their cases to a committee of NBA owners in New York City Wednesday.
With the Sacramento City Council passing a bill to approve a new stadium if the team stays, the decision on where the team will go is up to the NBA. Both ownership groups -- the Seattle group headed by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, the Sacramento group led by Vivek Ranadive, Mark Mastrov, and Ron Burkle -- have the finances to buy the team, and both can sell the league on new stadiums being build. Mayor Kevin Johnson will join the Sacramento group, as will other representatives from Seattle.
Each will try to sell the league on their city being the wiser business move for the NBA, with the committee presenting before the league's Board of Governors just before the start of the playoffs, when it will decide which city gets the team.
As Ken Berger of CBS writes, the league isn't really clear what it's voting on -- the relocation of a team or the potential sale of the team to a new ownership group -- but either way, it will decide between two group presenting similar offers. The league has to decide which will be a better business move.
As the Sacramento Bee points out, Seattle likely has the deeper pockets, but as Johnson told Berger, it might not be a good idea for the league to shun a city that's come together in major support of retaining a team.
"That's why it would be a bad precedent," Johnson said. "It would be a horrible precedent for the NBA to do that. We've met every benchmark, every milestone, every goal, every objective, everything that has been laid out, we've met. And you just don't do that to a community that has done everything you've asked of it."
Berger writes that the decision to move the team from Sacramento despite the city's total mobilization toward retaining the team could hamper the league's future attempts at relocating teams successfully.