Two months after his top target appeared to escape his grasp, Valiant Capital Management's Chris Hansen may get another chance to lure the Sacramento Kings basketball team to his hometown of Seattle.
At the end of February, the Kings' owners and the California capital struck a deal to build a new $400 million arena in downtown Sacramento. But despite the much-ballyhooed agreement, city said on Friday that it had fallen apart.
"It became clear today our differences are irreconcilable," Mayor Kevin Johnson said. "This deal is not happening as we know it."
Both Johnson and National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern—whose league pledged to cover the Kings' owners portion of the new arena—lay the blame squarely with the Maloof family, which has owned the team since 1996. Stern, who isn't exactly known for taking his owners to task publicly, lamented, "We had come up with a scenario where the Kings could move into the building without putting a dollar of cash down. We were not attempting to induce them to make a deal that would be unprofitable for them."
The Maloofs reportedly refused to put up any collateral or cover any pre-development fees. They also did not want to commit to Sacramento with the 30-year lease sought by the city, seeking just 15 years.
Whether the deal's failure reopens the door for Hansen to buy the Kings and move them north is anything but clear. Hansen's planned Seattle arena remains just that for the time being, a plan, one that has not been finalized. And while Johnson and Stern sound downcast, George Maloof offered a positive spin, telling the Sacramento Bee, "We’re not going anywhere."
"The way I look at negotiations is it can always come back. You never say never," Maloof told USA Today. "I've been around enough negotiating over the last 30 years of my life to know that deals die and they come back. Somebody sleeps on it, they take a break and they say, 'You know what, maybe we consider this.'"
"We'll never give up," he added.