Last week, Steve Ballmer sold over a billion dollars in Microsoft stock and looks to be selling more and by the start of the year Ballmer will have $2B cash in hand. When the Sonics were on their way out of town Ballmer did his best to buy the team from Bennett and get an arena plan put together to save basketball in Seattle.
We all know how that worked out.
Steve Ballmer is a huge fan of basketball. Everyone who knows him, knows this. Even those who don’t, know this.
Ballmer also cares deeply about his community and ever since the Sonics left there has been letters, emails, blogs, public demonstration and an award winning documentary that have kept the loss of the Sonics in the spotlight and Steve Ballmer could finally be setting things in motion to get a team back in Seattle, where professional basketball belongs.
The NBA is coming back, but it’s just a matter of what team will be coming.
Pacers, Bucks and Timberwolves all could or could not be on the market, but all of them are currently still in the middle of negotiating with their cities and states to get a deal worked out. I’d prefer to not get any of those teams unless I could just have Brandon Jennings, Kevin Love and a healthy Danny Granger.
The Memphis Grizzlies also come to mind, but they are locked into an iron clad lease and Michael Heisley wants about $200M more than the team is worth. Sadly, it’d cost just about a billion dollars to get the Grizzlies out of Memphis.
Which team does Seattle end up with?
The biggest buzz is currently around the Sacramento Kings. Up here in Seattle we know the kiss of death from the Angel of Stern when we hear it. He told it to us and we were paying attention when he told it to Vancouver.
The Sacramento Kings are on borrowed time and also have been mentioned in the same breath with New Orleans about contraction.
The Maloofs say the team is not for sale and they are still doing everything in their power to make it work in Sacramento and I believe them. I really do think they are going to do everything they possibly can to stay in Sacramento.
Would I be surprised at the end of March if the Maloofs file for relocation at the Board of Governors meetings and that Steve Ballmer also announces a plan for a privately financed arena in the Seattle area at just about the same time?
I wouldn’t and with the media coverage recently in Seattle about this whole thing I think there is really something to all of this and that the Kings will be in Seattle when the lockout ends.
The New Orleans Hornets are in the same situation. They were for sale and amazingly those talks have now fallen through since Stern got back involved after the Sacramento deal he was working on dissolved.
It’s no secret that the Hornets have been struggling financially and it would honestly be poetic if Seattle ended up with the team OKC actually wanted and should have been moved to there in the first place. Gary Chouest has decided to not purchase the Hornets and in this current NBA economic model that makes the Hornets a free agent, purchasable and a prime suspect of Steve Ballmer’s check.
Is it really a secret that Shinn with all his financial and health troubles wants to get this team off his shoulders so he can move on with what is the rest of his life.
I’m not trying to be cold to George Shinn, I hope his bout with cancer goes well and he survives, I’m a cancer survivor myself and having experienced firsthand of what he is going through, I know makes it through this.
I am pretty speculative that Seattle will get one of those teams and hopefully by the end of March the picture will clear up and Seattle will know exactly what team they are getting.
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