NBA Commissioner David Stern
OAKLAND, CA - Sacramento's bid for the Kings isn't high enough, NBA Commissioner David Stern said Friday night.
"It is not quite there in terms of a comparison to the Seattle bid," Stern said. "It's my expectation that it probably will be, but it needs a little work."
Stern was at Oracle Arena in Oakland for a Golden State Warriors game against the Houston Rockets when he talked to the media in the interview room.
At the Sacramento State of the City Address, Mayor Kevin Johnson said Mark Mastrov, founder of 24-Hour Fitness, and 20 other local investors put in a bid to buy the Kings from the Maloofs, the majority owners of the Kings. Johnson also said Ron Burkle, owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins, is partnering with the owners of the Downtown Plaza, JMA Ventures LLC, to build a sports and entertainment venue.
"I think we're well positioned. We know that the owner group we have together is more than capable," Johnson said at Sacramento Kings game Friday night. "They're well financed. They have the wherewithall. They know what they're doing. It doesn't pay for them to negotiate in public. This is the beginning of a journey and I feel good with where we are."
"Well, we have a lot of work to do, we have a lot of meetings, so we'll see what we can do, but we're very aggressive and we plan to win," Mastrov said the Warriors game Friday night.
A Seattle ownership group, headed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, put in an offer with the Maloofs to by the Kings. During the press conference, Stern said Mastrov's offer is "not comparable" to Seattle's offer and needs to be increased by dollar amounts.
"There's a substantial variance," Stern said. "But I have an expectation and a hope that the variance will be eliminated by the time the owners get to consider it."
"Well, the Commissioner is a master at negotiations," Mastrov said in response to Stern's comments. "So, I look forward to continuing our negotiations with the NBA."
"We know that Seattle created a very high bar, but again, I feel that we have the ownership group that they know what they need to do," Johnson said. "I feel confident in their ability."
Stern said that if an ownership group decides to leave the NBA, it doesn't retain the right to say where the team will reside; the Board of Governors decides that.
A Board of Governors subcommittee is planning to meet on April 3 in New York, where Johnson is expected to talk.
"[Stern] knows we're in the game, I believe we're in the 4th quarter," Johnson said. "There's a lot of things that are going to happen between now and then. And I think the Commissioner said that April 3rd is going to be an opportunity for Seattle and Sacramento to come to New York and share their case and I feel very confident that we have a very compelling case."
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