The potential move of the Sacramento Kings has been a long, winding process that has now involved fans in Sacramento, Anaheim, Seattle and, for a hot minute, Virginia Beach. Presumably it will come to a resolution next week when the NBA Board of Governors decides whether to approve the Kings move to Seattle.
The Kings' current owners, the Maloof family, have stayed out of the fight for the team, letting the Seattle and Sacramento groups sweeten the deal ever so slightly.
Now, according to various sources including the Sacramento Business Daily and ESPN, the Maloofs are asking for some non-refundable money from the Sacramento group led by Vivek Ranadive.
$30 million to be exact.
The same $30 million they reportedly got from the Seattle group led by Steve Hansen. If they do not, the Maloofs will not negotiate with the Ranadive group says the reports.
The Maloofs can say whatever they like, but they lost their leverage in these negotiations when they agreed to sell to Hansen's group. Indicating a desire to leave the league, not to mention backing out of a deal with the city of Sacramento last year and an attempted move the year before that seemed motivated only by a desire to get out of debt, has pretty much burned every bridge in the league.
One way to think of this is the Maloofs are trying to get some more cash, which is probably true. Another view is that the Maloofs now believe there is a distinct possibility that this deal may not shake out in Seattle's favor and if it does not they will need to get the ball rolling on selling to Ranadive's group.
It is a bluff.
It is not a bad bluff, except for the fact that if the Maloofs show an unwillingness to sell again, the value of their team will go down and so will the trust of any future partner. Maloofs will probably get the extra cash out of the deal, but do not pretend for a second they will still be the owners of the Sacramento Kings come this summer.