Notes on Negotiations: NBA Negotiations in Sacramento

NBA Negotiations in Sacramento
Written by Marty Latz, Latz Negotiation Institute

Watching parties engage in high profile negotiations is, for us, one of life’s great pleasures.  A current example is the negotiation between the Maloof family, owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, and Kevin Johnson, the Mayor of Sacramento and a former star player for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, to keep the team in Sacramento.

Last spring, the Maloofs engaged in discussions to move the team to Anaheim, California but decided not to file a required request with the NBA to move the team.  By agreeing to voluntarily limit their leverage (by putting on hold their Plan B of moving the team to Anaheim), the Maloofs sought to generate some positive momentum which they hoped would result in more movement and dollars from their Plan A counterpart – Mayor Johnson and the City of Sacramento.

With much fanfare, the parties recently announced they had reached a tentative deal, which then subsequently fell apart as they negotiated the details – and which some have suggested was due to nibbling by the Maloofs.  Last Friday Mayor Johnson accused the Maloof’s of backing out and stated, “We can’t do more than we’ve done.  It’s impossible.”

In response, George Maloof mentioned on Monday that, while “[o]ur intention is to stay in Sacramento,” another city had reached out to the family over the weekend in an effort to persuade them to move (an attempt to ratchet up the pressure by publicly putting their Plan B back on the table).

What do you think will be the next move here?


Marty Latz is the founder of Latz Negotiation Institute, a national negotiation training and consulting company, and ExpertNegotiator, a Web-based software company that helps managers and negotiators more effectively negotiate and implement best practices based on the experts’ proven research.  He is also the author of Gain the Edge! Negotiating to Get What You Want (St. Martin’s Press 2004). He can be reached at 480-951-3222 or

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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