Ballmer Time

RAMPAGE! Steve Ballmer Bound and Determined to Bring Basketball to Seattle

"Now he thinks he can twist enough arms around the league to force his way into the association.”
Maybe tone it down just a tad.

Maybe tone it down just a tad.

Looks like we’ve got a real barn-burner on our hands!

For months, hedge funder Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer have worked to relocate the Sacramento Kings to Seattle, which has been NBA-less for five years. Their plan: to make the owners, the Maloofs, an offer they can’t refuse.  But the mayor of Sacramento–who happens to be former NBA star Kevin Johnson–doesn’t want the team going anywhere. He’s rounded up rival techies who might buy from the Maloofs and prepared a big bushel of subsidies for them. Last month, the league rejected the Seattle group’s request to move the team.

And so here we are, at loggerheads and due for another NBA meeting today. But Steve Ballmer doesn’t do gridlock. A source tells NBC Sports:

“He’s on a rampage,” said one source. “He assumed he could backdoor Sacramento with a willing partner in the Maloofs, but he underestimated Sacramento and now he thinks he can twist enough arms around the league to force his way into the association.”

Unfortunately, that approach is not making Mr. Ballmer any friends in the NBA:

According to league sources speaking to PBT under condition of anonymity, the recent power plays made 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.”

Another source is even more blunt: “Ballmer is playing a game of Russian Roulette with SEA’s NBA future. He can’t throw money at the problem like this is Microsoft.”

But how can you blame the man, when he sees his future as an NBA cheerleader slipping from his grasp?

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com