SACRAMENTO, CA - In yet another sign that the NBA isn't counting Sacramento out, Sacramento City Manager told council members Tuesday night that the league has hired a local firm to review the city's offer.
The city's offer is a counter-offer to the one the Maloofs have signed with Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer in Seattle. If that deal is approved by the NBA Board of Governors, the Sacramento Kings will move to Seattle for the next NBA season.
Sacramento is trying to stop that sale and move, by submitting a counter offer lead by millionaires Mark Mastrov and Ron Burkle.
Shirey did not say which local firm the league had hired, but did say the league is doing its homework. It wants to analyze Sacramento's offer before presentations will be made to the relocation and finance committees in New York City on April 3.
"It is a good thing; it means that they take us seriously," Shirey said. "It means they feel that we have a legitimate offer and that we're a contender to keep the team here."
Shirey and assistant city manager John Dangberg are representing the city in the negotiations between the city, Mastrov, Ron Burkle and JMA Ventures. JMA recently purchased the Downtown Plaza Mall and would like to develop an arena there. Burkle would be the developer and major equity investor.
"Our meetings are not what you'd traditionally think of as negotiations where everybody is gathered at one table," Shirey said. "A lot of this information is being exchanged via telephone, conference calls, emails, things of that sort. Both sides have a lot to do in terms of gathering information, so not much of this has to be done at a table with two sides facing off."
The term sheet, or the framework of the arena construction financing, should be unveiled on March 21. Shirey wants the council to vote on the deal at their March 26 meeting, meaning the documents would have to be made public the Thursday before. Shirey said this term sheet will likely have much more detail then the first deal between the city and Maloofs; that document was 18 pages long.
"We hope that we can post that term sheet on the previous Thursday, the 21st. Don't hold me to that because there's a lot of work to be done between now and then," Shirey added.
Amy Williams, Sacramento's public information officer, also made a small presentation to the council updating them on outreach efforts.
She said more than 300 people had submitted ideas on their new website, envisionsacramento.com
The city will also hold a public meeting on March 21 at City Hall, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
By Nick Monacelli, email@example.com