A sneak preview from “Vagrant Kings: David Stern, Kevin Johnson and the NBA’s Orphan Team.” Download the book later this month:
“But (Chris) Hansen’s quick-kill strategy carried a monumental risk. By agreeing to buy the Kings before the team was relocated, Hansen and (Steve) Ballmer were giving away the Maloof family’s strongest leverage point with the NBA. They were giving up the unilateral right to move to Seattle without the NBA’s blessing, a right backed by the threat of a federal antitrust lawsuit.
“While this point was overlooked in the voluminous media coverage in Sacramento, Seattle and across the country, it set the tone for the next five months. And it handed David Stern mastery over the Kings’ future. By seeking to transfer ownership in the team before it relocated, the Maloofs, Hansen and Ballmer turned themselves into spectators along for the ride. Stern was at the wheel.”