Report: Steve Ballmer Leading ‘Scorched Earth’ Policy, Hurting Chances of NBA Returning to Seattle

Kings Sale Supersonics BasketballHowever a person is supposed to handle a potential purchase of an NBA team, Steve Ballmer apparently is doing basically the opposite of that.

Ballmer, part of the All-Star duo of prospective owners for a new Seattle franchise along with Chris Hansen, is on a “rampage” that is threatening the city’s chances of getting a new professional basketball team, according to an in-depth report posted Tuesday.

ProBasketballTalk outlines Ballmer’s aggressive, outrageous manner that is grating on NBA executives and owners ever since the league’s relocation committee voted unanimously against the Sacramento Kings’ bid to move to Seattle.

“Now that Ballmer has taken on a larger role with the Seattle group, league sources tell PBT that the same bravado he has employed with Microsoft is turning heads at the league office — and not in a good way,” writes Aaron Bruski. “It’s no secret that Ballmer is a handful — but a well-connected and filthy rich handful that the NBA would love to have in its stable. At least, that was the case. … [T]he recent power plays by Seattle and the Maloof family have ‘started to weigh on the NBA to the point where any Ballmer-led proposal now or in the future could fall on deaf ears if he doesn’t change course.'”

The source goes on to tell Bruski that, “should the Seattle group continue to pursue a scorched earth policy with the Sacramento marketplace, they would jeopardize the city’s ability to secure an NBA team down the road should the opportunity present itself.”

This should be alarming news for Seattle fans. Just a few months ago, they seemed sure to get an NBA team to replace the Sonics, who were taken from them in 2008. Not only does the league now appear to be leaning toward keeping the Kings in Sacramento, but one of the principal players in the Seattle deal is destroying the group’s relationship with the league.

After the relocation committee’s vote, Ballmer and Hansen responded by increasing the amount of their offer and outlining a separate plan — some have called it a threat — to buy a minority stake in the Kings under the Maloof family, the current owners. Such a setup would slowly bleed the life from the Kings until the league has no choice but to allow the team to move.

To its credit, the NBA appears to have recognized Ballmer and Hansen’s hostile actions for what they are. As far as getting the Kings goes, Seattle looks like it has lost this battle. But if Ballmer does not back off soon, Seattle might lose out on the next battle, too, if the NBA even allows the city back into another fight.

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