According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Sacramento Kings are in the process of being sold. The Maloof family is targeting the Hansen-Balmer buying group for the deal.
The duo is based out of Seattle. The reported price tag is approximately $500 million.
The Maloofs are finalizing an agreement to sell the Sacramento Kings to the Hansen-Ballmer led Seattle group, sources tell Yahoo! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 9, 2013
The buying party includes Microsoft CEO and billionaire Steve Ballmer, as well as San Francisco hedge fund manager Chris Hanson. This does not rule the Maloof Family out entirely, although their say with the franchise will be minimal.
Even still, they will own a small percentage of the team.
The Maloofs are expected to keep an extremely small percentage of team, but will have no real input or say in franchise, sources say.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 9, 2013
Since Wojnarowski provided said reports, multiple sources have stated the opposite.
One of those reports comes from Steve Large of CBS 13 in Sacramento. In fact, Large reports that the offer made by Ballmer and Hanson has been rejected.
Source: Seattle groups offer was rejected by Maloofs. Hmmm. Plot thickening by the minute.— stevelarge_cbs13 (@largesteven) January 9, 2013
In other words, we're not even close to seeing the Kings move to Seattle.
Talks related to #NBAKings sale have been 'conceptual,' source tells The Bee. Reports sale is done are premature.— Ryan Lillis (@Ryan_Lillis) January 9, 2013
Should the Kings move to a new city, the major question will be whether the new owners will break up their current personnel. Chances are they will.
The question: Will they hold on to DeMarcus Cousins?
New Management, New Direction
When a team takes on new management, there is almost always a new direction.
Should a deal be done, the new owners will be searching for a general manager that fits their idea of a quality path to success. That GM will, in turn, piece together a coaching staff and set of players who properly fit that billing.
That theory can be applied to the Sacramento Kings.
Should the team be sold, management will be looking to win games. Three seasons into the pairing of Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins, wins remain at a premium.
Expect the personnel to change if the results do not.
Cousins has built a reputation as one of the most mercurial players in the NBA. He's also been suspended as recent as December of 2012 (via USA Today).
As for Evans, his production continues to decrease with each passing season.
With that being said, both men are under 25. They're also laced with upside, which suggests that they could be used as trade bait.
We've seen it before and we may see it again. But for what?
Trading for Draft Picks
DeMarcus Cousins is a 22-year-old center with All-Star caliber production. He's also a player that has commanded a significant amount of interest on the trade market (via ESPN).
With that in mind, it would behoove the potentially new management to explore their options.
Cousins is young enough to garner an unprotected first-round draft choice. He's also productive enough to land expiring contracts and productive veterans.
In other words, the trade of one man could lead to multiple top-tier prospects and a high-priced free agent joining the Kings.
This is not to say that keeping Cousins would be detrimental, as there is undeniable upside. Not only from his individual game, but from the impact he could have on the team as a whole.
The question is: Can the Kings afford not to explore the possibilities? The truth of the matter is, they cannot.
Which is why Cousins will end up back on the trade block.