A little under two weeks ago, the Sacramento Kings were sold to a group led by Vivek Ranadive with the intent of keeping the team in Sacramento. On Tuesday, that sale was unanimously approved by the NBA's Board of Governors.
The process to get to the eventual sale from the Maloof Brothers to Ranadive's group was a long and arduous one, however.
It appeared as though the team was going to be relocated to Seattle after a group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer put together a bid worth a shocking $625 million, well beyond the estimated worth of the team.
However, the NBA Board of Governors (comprised of the league's 30 owners) rejected Seattle's bid and voted in favor of keeping the team in California, 22-8. The Maloofs accepted Ranadive's bid, which included $341 million and an additional $250 million in public money.
That made the total valuation of the team roughly $525 million.
Ranadive sweetened his offer even more, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
In a backroom deal cut just before the relocation committee vote two weeks ago, Ranadive sweetened his offer considerably when he promised to forfeit tens of millions in revenue sharing to fellow owners in the coming years.
That incentive could be worth between $15 million to $20 million per season, money other owners would not have to share under the current agreement between teams.
While it wasn't an outright bribe, it was a direct path to the voting owners' pockets that leveled the playing field between the bids.
Yet perhaps the biggest factor was Mayor Kevin Johnson's ability to broker a deal to build a new arena, ensuring the club would have a new home if it remained in Sacramento, which Seattle was unable to do when the Supersonics relocated to Oklahoma City.
While it is certainly a happy day for Sacramento, it is also a sad one for Seattle, which is still without an NBA organization.
Perhaps the strong bid by Hansen's group—which included plans for a new arena—will be enough to inspire the NBA to put a franchise in the city in the near future.