New York, NY
Chris Hansen, who leads the group seeking to bring the Kings to Seattle, is increasing his offer for 65 percent of the team from $358 million to $406 million.
This increases the total valuation of the team from $550 million under his previous offer to $625 million.
A group in Sacramento led by Vivek Ranadive has bid $341 million and secured the promise of more than $250 million in public money and build a new arena to keep the team. That puts the total value of the team at $525 million.
But in a backroom deal cut just before the relocation committee vote two weeks ago, Ranadive also promised to forfeit tens of millions in revenue sharing to fellow owners in the coming years.
That incentive could be worth between $15 million to $20 million per season, money other owners would not have to share under the current agreement between teams.
While it wasn't an outright bribe, it was a direct path to the voting owners' pockets that leveled the playing field between the bids.
As a counteroffer, Hansen now gave a promise that the franchise would pay into the revenue-sharing pool each season if the team was moved to Seattle. It constitutes a raising of the stakes because Ranadive's offer does involve paying into the system, but only that he'd not take money out of the pool established for lower-revenue teams such as the Kings.
Previously, Hansen -- whose group includes billionaire Steve Ballmer -- announced he would go through with a purchase of even if owners blocked the move to Seattle . In that case, Hansen would be in position to re-apply to move the team if there were any hold ups in Sacramento's arena project.
"While we appreciate that this is a very difficult decision for the league and owners, we hope it is understood that we really believe the time is now to bring the NBA back to Seattle," Hansen said in a statement.
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