Scott Howard-Cooper's post on Basketball | Latest updates on Sulia
No practical hit to Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson missing a self-imposed timeline to unveil majority owner(s)...
as part of the counter-strike to keep the Kings. But it does look bad in a very delicate situation where perception counts.
Johnson knows this is a PR process too. He had one press conference that was more pep rally to release the names of minority investors totalling $20 million, a sliver in a deal that will require many hundreds of millions of dollars. He followed that with what amounted to an announcement that he had nothing to announce.
KJ never should have put himself on the clock by saying he would have the majority investor, or a team effort if the pairing of Ron Burkle and Mark Mastrov becomes reality, in place by the end of last week. There simply was no need. Trying to intercept the Seattle deal would have been a logistical obstacle course under the best of circumstances, but Johnson is juggling multiple tycoons who may each have their own plan about how to proceed. And they didn't get to be among the super-rich by compromising a lot when instinct says otherwise.
The Seattle plan is locked in. Ownership group in place, agreement with the Maloof family to buy controlling interest in place, details for a new arena in place. Sacramento has none of that at a time it needs impress the Board of Governors as organized and being more deserving of the Kings than Seattle. (The majority owner, the biggest step, could be announced as soon as Tuesday. That group will come with a preference for an arena site.)
Seattle does have to deal with the unknown of the legal tangles, but that might only delay the inevitable if the courts rule in favor of the sale to the group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer. Sacramento interests could force the uncertainty late enough into the summer that the NBA would have to keep the team in Northern California one more campaign, only to have Hansen-Ballmer win and 2013-14 as the official lame-duck season in town.
The Board of Governors meets April 18-19, so Johnson still has time. But he needs something more than a good sales pitch at All-Star weekend the end of next week, and he certainly needs to stop missing timelines that didn't need to be set in the first place. Perception.