NBA Commissioner David Stern
SACRAMENTO, CA - Sacramento Kings fans were cringing Friday night when NBA Commissioner David Stern told the world Mark Mastrov's offer to buy the Kings is too low.
But his announcement, when you think about it, is a good thing.
Stern gave Sacramento a gift, as Mastrov and his team now have a chance to make their offer better.
He could have said nothing, and then come April, simply say the offer isn't high enough and the Kings could be Seattle-bound.
This way, he's giving Sacramento yet another chance, he's drawing a road-map to be competitive.
Stern may be pulling for Sacramento.
Remember how much power he has, and remember his response in Houston last month when News10 sports anchor Bryan May asked him, "Will you advise them [the owners]?"
His response: "I've been known to."
Let's look at the history, all the time Stern has invested in the Sacramento area. Most notable are the hours behind closed doors in Orlando last year when he, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Maloofs were trying to get an arena deal done.
When the deal finally came together, Stern said, "There have been some who suggested it was a fool's errand. But I don't think any of us felt the least bit foolish. This was a worthy cause, a worthy goal."
A worthy cause that fell apart when the Maloofs backed away.
But eight months later, Stern was applauding Sacramento.
"I would say that through a very difficult time, the fans and the business of Sacramento have responded in an extraordinary way," he said at the November 2012 NBA Board of Governors meeting. "It just goes to my view that Sacramento is a great NBA city and a great potential NBA city."
Immediately following that press conference when Stern was asked, "Do you wish Sacramento luck in its future endeavors?" He said, "Oh, I sure do. I'm a big fan of Sacramento."
To be fair and crystal clear, those comments came three months before the sale to Seattle was announced.
But what's also clear, at least in this reporter's opinion, is that the godfather of the NBA likes California's capital. He even said before the Golden State vs. Houston game that he hopes the dollar gap will be filled.
"There's a substantial variance. But I have an expectation, a hope that the variance will be eliminated by the time the owners get to consider it," Stern said.
Sam Amick of USA Today agrees.
"You didn't think he had a dog in this fight or saw that he had a city that he wanted to win so to speak," Amick said. "But he did say it's my expectation and hope that the bid gets there."
By Nick Monacelli, email@example.com