Posted by Matt Moore
While Kings fans wait with fearful baited breath for the likely upcoming announcement of the King's application for relocation, the Hornets have settled into peaceful quiet after the uproar of the NBA's acquisition of their ownership last fall. But the San Jose Mercury News reports that it's possible that Larry Ellison, who has reportedly made multiple bids for both the Warriors and Hornets, who may make yet another push to purchase the Hornets, and in the event of doing so, relocate them to San Jose, California. From the Mercury News:
But the prospect of Ellison buying a struggling franchise and moving it to HP Pavilion is real enough to have spawned interested conversation at very high levels.via Kawakami: Larry Ellison buying and moving New Orleans Hornets to San Jose plausible and possible - San Jose Mercury News.
And if things break a certain way over the next year or two, this theoretically could happen in a relative snap -- and a flood of Ellison money.
The NBA/San Jose advantages: Ellison's billions, the handful of teams in financial distress, and the existence of HP Pavilion, which is NBA-ready.
In January, Ellison, one of the richest men in the world, confirmed that he bid on the New Orleans Hornets, but the league chose to take the team over at that time and said it was seeking local ownership.
On Thursday, a spokeswoman for Ellison had no comment on the matter.
But it's probably safe to assume the NBA will wait until after this summer's labor negotiations, then put the Hornets back up for sale.
In that scenario, would anybody expect Ellison quietly to end his efforts to own a sports franchise after he was surprisingly outbid for the Warriors last July?
Kawakami goes on to say that the league considers such a move hypothetical, but all the elements are there. A ready arena, aggressive ownership, and a franchise which if local ownership does not step up to acquire it, will be put on the open market. The other NBA owners who are in possession of the Hornets won't allow the NBA to throw good money after bad. And in that case, Ellison looks very attractive.
Additionally intriguing is a scenario mentioned by Kawakami in which Warriors ownership votes against approving relocation for the Kings to Anaheim, in an attempt to set a precedent against relocation in order to protect their market from a prospective competitor in San Jose. Along with the Lakers and Clippers ownership looking to protect their market against the Kings staking a claim in southern California, and a group of smaller market owners, that might set up the possibility for the Kings to be stranded in Sacramento, buying time for local officials to come up with a new arena plan. It's a complicated scenario of big and small market politics, but one that definitely seems plausible from where we're at.
Could Ellison's interest in the Hornets be what keeps the Kings in Sacramento? This whole situation continues to get stranger and stranger by the second as NBA ownership finances take a bigger role on the public stage.