Kings sale saga: Steve Ballmer angering NBA?

USA TODAY Sports

Steve Ballmer was reportedly behind the desperation moves by the Seattle ownership group.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has reportedly been responsible for some of the ambitious recent moves by an ownership group trying to move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle, and it hasn't been well received, according to Pro Basketball Talk's Aaron Bruski.

Sactown Royalty: Complete Kings saga coverage

SB Nation's Brian Floyd did a great job recapping the confusing twists in the Kings ownership saga since the NBA's relocation committee recommended the league not approve a sale to the group headed by Ballmer and Chris Hansen. The Seattle group has doubled down on their efforts to bring the squad north, offering to increase their purchase price, offering a higher relocation fee, and negotiating a backup plan with the Maloofs to buy a smaller stake of the team with plans of moving it later rather than immediately.

Floyd speculated that the moves could irritate the NBA's power brokers, and if Bruski's reporting is true, it has. The changes in strategy have reportedly been engineered by Ballmer rather than the calmer Hansen. Bruski reports that his decision to try to bring the Kings to Seattle at all costs could hurt the city's plans of acquiring a team in the future in the likely situation they can't get the Kings:

...Several sources with knowledge of the situation have told PBT that once they recognized the Sacramento bid was likely to meet league requirements, and ultimately secure the Kings, then decision-making for Seattle’s strategy and PR effort slowly shifted into Ballmer’s hands. That strategy has been at odds with the due process the NBA has been following, and recently it has been at odds with the NBA itself.

“He’s on a rampage,” said one source. “He assumed he could backdoor Sacramento with a willing partner in the Maloofs, but he underestimated Sacramento and now he thinks he can twist enough arms around the league to force his way into the association.”

This entire situation has been ugly for all involved, and the fact that it has been dragged out has made it even uglier. It's generally agreed that expansion would solve the problem here, as Tom Ziller wrote, and if Ballmer's strategy really is alienating the people who could make that happen, that would just take the ugliness of this current situation and spread it into the future.

More from SB Nation:

FAQ: Explaining the Kings situation

Ziller: Expansion still makes the most sense

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