Maloofs employ 'Plan Middle Finger'

Maloofs employ 'Plan Middle Finger'
May 11, 2013, 7:15 pm
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The Maloofs are telling Sacramento at the moment of its greatest imagined triumph that nobody can put a price tag on spite.
—Ray Ratto

Today In The I-5 War, courtesy the Dancing Maloofs:

The embattled, embittered and em-poverished (sorry, spelling gods) owners of the Sacramento Kings have gone to Plan MF in their ongoing quest to thwart Kevin Johnson and David Stern – keeping the team, selling a minority share to Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer for $125M (20 percent of the new offer from the Seattles) and thrusting a middle finger at Johnson, Stern, Vivek Ranadive and whatever new investors sign up for the Sacramento deal.

Hence, Plan MF. Middle. Finger.

There’s no subtler way to put this. In the wake of Friday’s news that Hansen and Ballmer jacked their offer to buy the Kings to $625 million, the Maloofs, who have an agreement to sell them the team so that they can move it to Seattle, have decided, according to sources talking to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, to refuse point-blank to sell to Ranadive and the Sacramento group. In sum, they’ll sell a piece of the team to the guys who want to move it, and keep running the team until they get permission to leave. It’s the poison pill in human form, and Sacramento is the gullet in question.

Thus, the NBA’s Relocation Committee, which voted to keep the team in Sacramento earlier this week, is now going to reconsider their vote because of the new Seattle offer. That reconsideration will come before next Tuesday’s owners meeting in Dallas.

In short, what was once Sacramento’s became Seattle’s, which became  Sacramento’s, and now may be Seattle’s again.

And no, there is no indication that the old bifurcated Kansas City-Omaha Kings may become the Sacreattle Kings. This is all-or-nothing business, and the middle fingers are part of the sale price.

According to Windhorst’s report, Hansen and Ballmer have also jacked the relocation fee to $115 million. Clay Bennett paid $30 million to move the old Supersonics to Oklahoma City five years ago. That’s a cool 383 percent inflation rate.

Hansen is now hurling money at the owners so fast that they don’t know whether to knit or go blind. They like that part, which is why they are reopening consideration. But the Maloofs are working the more deliciously mean-spirited angle of shutting Johnson’s plan out entirely, taking the old carrot-and-stick and turning it into summer home-and-dumpster.

In sum, the Maloofs are telling Sacramento at the moment of its greatest imagined triumph that nobody can put a price tag on spite.

Follow their logic:

1.      Sacramento hates us.
2.      We hate Sacramento.
3.      We cut a deal with these guys.
4.      We don’t want to talk to those guys.
5.      We can’t win David Stern over.
6.      So let’s try the owners again.

And their offer is so diabolically simple: You can have more money, or you can have more of us. Seems simple when you put it that way.

So of course the owners are playing along. Either the increased money stirs them, or they’ve decided they don’t care enough any more and just want the problem of the Maloofs in Sacramento to go away.

Or maybe they’re just resting up for their equally middle-fingered response. All possibilities are again in play.

But it’s uglier all around now, and this will end with someone’s blood on the moon. You know. Business.

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