Are the Kings' owners-to-be 'diabolical geniuses'?

January 11, 2013, 4:45 pm
Share This Post

If the Comrade Steinmetz report that the Sacramento Kings have been sold to Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer to be relocated for $525 million is true, then let us be the first to say this:

Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer are out of their tiny little minds.

And this as well.

Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer are  diabolical genii.

Oh, and one last thing.

He’d better have the jack to do this. Especially if Mark Mastrov’s offer to buy the team and keep them in Sacramento appeals to the Maloofs. It probably doesn’t, of course, because a team in Sacramento would always be a reminder to the Maloofs of their own catastrophic failures, and a bidding war would always appeal more to the guy with the bigger plan.

And the bigger plan is the Kings-to-be-SuperSonics, the NHL team that Hansen/Ballmer are hunting for, and the arena to house them both. That’s a heap’o’acquiring, and the fact that they are willing to negotiate not only with the Maloof Family Singers and the people who helped give you the NHL’s third lockout in 17 years means they are having a particularly hyperactive burst of acquisitiveness.

The guess here is that the Maloofs will turn it into a bidding war to more easily cover the relocation and bribe-Sacto fees, but the guess here is that Hansen and Ballmer are too far along to walk away, either.

So let’s say money is the usual no object, that they can pay almost twice the growing rate just to get a team they can call Washington’s own, and then presumably do the same thing with the Columbus Blue Jackets or Edmonton Oilers. And let’s say they can even throw enough cash around to keep the construction unions happy, too.

In that case, they’re about to become even more seriously rich than they already are. And they will also find out how short a public honeymoon actually lasts.

They’ll have made a better purchase than Joe Lacob did when he and a slew of partners bought the Warriors for $460M. They’ll be the new public owners in a city that has the reclusive Paul Allen and the essentially invisible Mariners’ owners. He’ll be the savior who returned the NBA to town, and threw in a hockey team the town didn’t even know it wanted on the side. And once he hooks up with a TV network . . .

Ching. As in Cha-.

See, that’s the real hit here. Hansen and Ballmer can have two marginally profitable teams (or one pretty profitable team like the NeoSonics and a team is marginally not like the Metropolitans/Eskimos/Ironmen/Bombers/Americans/Totems/Breakers/Thunderbirds) and do okay. But the real estate will mean more, and the TV money even more than that.

And for that, they may even be willing to endure the Maloofs as not-so-silent partners, and conference calls with Gary Bettman.

So yes, they certainly did overpay for the Kings, and they won a whole metropolitan area that hates their guts in Sacramento, though the state capital will never forget the Maloofs.

And as an aside, never forget that you can’t spell “Maloof” without “Mal” and “Oof.”

But Hansen and Ballmer will take all of that and more, because they are on the verge of being big shots in a big town, with all the money that entails.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for