Seattle-based investor Chris Hansen vows to continue fighting to purchase the Sacramento Kings, but his legal challenge to land the NBA franchise may fall short.
Following the NBA Relocation Committee vote Monday to block the Kings from moving to Seattle, Hansen wrote in a statement, “I just wanted to reassure all of you that we have numerous options at our disposal and have absolutely no plans to give up.”
The comment insinuates the Hansen-Ballmer duo could take legal action against the NBA after coming to terms on a binding offer with the Maloof family for the Kings. But it may not be that simple. Law professor and sports legal expert at Sports Illustrated, Michael McCann said Tuesday that a provision or “legal recourse” Hansen entered into by attempting to buy the Kings “prevents him from suing the NBA.”
McCann added, “Having the highest bid or putting an offer first does not guarantee someone retaining an NBA team.”
After Al Davis sued the NFL to relocate the Raiders in 1982, leagues have made sure to cover their basis legally so a franchise cannot leave without agreement from league owners. That means any lawsuit against the NBA from Hansen will likely come in a way that pushes the league toward expansion.
“I don’t see any way in which Seattle could be granted the Sacramento Kings through a court order at this point.” McCann said.
The threat of a legal battle may be looming, but Hansen’s best bet still appears to be convincing the rest of the league’s owners the relocation committee is wrong.
“We plan to unequivocally state our case for both relocation and our plan to move forward with the transaction to the league and owners at the upcoming Board of Governors meeting in mid-May.”
The BOG meeting is scheduled to take place on May 15 in Dallas. All signs point to the Kings staying in Sacramento.