When the prospective ownership group led by Vivek Ranadive managed to convince the NBA's Relocation and Finance Committee to keep the Kings in Sacramento, we pointed out that the main incentive driving the NBA's decision was most definitely the city of Sacramento's willingness to build a new publicly financed stadium. But now it looks like the NBA got an even sweeter deal than we originally thought.
According to the Sports Business Journal, Ranadive helped sway the owners' votes by promising to forgo money that would normally be afforded to him from his fellow owners under the league's revenue-sharing model. The SBJ story is behind a pay wall, but the Sacramento Bee has some of the details:
Quoting an anonymous source, the magazine said the group led by Vivek Ranadive agreed to accept fewer revenue-sharing dollars while the team was still playing at Sleep Train Arena. Once the team moves into the proposed downtown arena, the Kings would take no money at all.
The NBA created a new revenue-sharing structure last season in which wealthier franchises direct more of their profits to the struggling franchises. The magazine said the Kings, who had the league's worst attendance in the just-concluded regular season, would expect to collect about $18 million a year under the new arrangement.
Here's where we pause to remind you that one of the planks of the NBA's recent lockout was the league's supposed desire to increase competitive balance, a desire which a more robust revenue-sharing program was meant to sate. Look, here's David Stern and Adam Silver saying as much back in 2011, while using the Sacramento Kings as an example of why the system needed to be overhauled:
"Payroll is significant and there is a correlation [with winning]," says deputy commissioner Adam Silver. "It’s not a perfect correlation and that’s a point [union president] Derek Fisher has made many times; and we don’t mean to take away anything from his multiple championships. But, it’s a critical issue. And a GM that’s given $100 million to spend as opposed to a GM or owner who’s given $50 million to spend is at a huge competitive advantage and that’s something we want to fix in this deal."
The Lakers, points out David Stern, spend "well over $100 million on the payroll and Sacramento at 45, that’s not an acceptable alternative for us. That can’t be the outcome that we agree to."
All that posturing about competitive balance was bullshit, of course. We knew it then and we know it now, this deal is just the latest reminder. The Kings aren't staying in Sacramento because the NBA gives a shit about the city or the fans, but because it will give the league a fancy new arena and the other owners a few extra million dollars with which to line their pockets.