Another ex-Sonics owner and attorney, K&L Gates corporate partner G. Scott Greenburg in Seattle, tells The Am Law Daily that he was not able to represent the Hansen-led group in its effort to bring an NBA team back to the Pacific Northwest because of a conflict caused by his firm's role as bond counsel to King County in the plan to construct a new sports arena. "However, I am looking forward to once again becoming a fan and season ticket holder," adds Greenburg.
Whether or not the Sonics do return to Seattle will likely depend on how successful Downey Brand's Koewler and other local attorneys and officials are in drumming up investor interest for keeping the Kings in Sac-town.
James Sanchez, city attorney for Sacramento, did not respond to a request for comment on whether he has retained outside counsel in the effort to hold on to the Kings.
Burkle, who currently co-owns the National Hockey League's Pittsburgh Penguins and has been mentioned as a possible suitor for the city's Major League Baseball team, is likely the best bet Sacramento has in enticing the NBA to nix a Kings move to Seattle.
Loeb & Loeb has handled work for Burkle's Yucaipa Companies, but the firm is likely conflicted out of any potential representation of him because it has previously advised the Maloofs in their efforts to find a solution to their ownership issues involving the Kings.
John Frankenheimer, partner and chairman emeritus of Loeb & Loeb, did not return a phone call about his firm's potential role in the fate of the Kings. Yucaipa's general counsel Robert Bermingham declined to comment through a Burkle spokesman. (A year ago this month Yucaipa stayed in-house in picking up a minority stake in Relativity Media, part of Burkle's move into Hollywood.)
By the time the NBA's regular season concludes in late April, the fate of the Kings should be determined, as will whether or not Hansen and company prevail in bringing pro basketball back to Seattle or meet an Arum-like fate.
Dodgers's TV Deal Yields Roles for Five Firms
Covington's sports lawyers aren't just busy representing Hansen and Ballmer in their bid to brings the Kings to Seattle. The firm is also advising Time Warner Cable, which this week beat out Fox Sports Media Group for the rights to broadcast games for MLB's Los Angeles Dodgers. The deal, officially announced on Monday, will create a new regional sports network called SportsNet LA.
Covington corporate partner Douglas Gibson, restructuring partner Benjamin Hoch, special counsel Scott Roades, and associate J. Jason Davis are advising New York-based TWC, along with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison deputy corporate practice chair Ariel Deckelbaum.
Deckelbaum and Paul Weiss previously advised the nation's second-largest cable company on its $9.3 billion spin-off from former parent Time Warner in 2009, as well as its $3 billion acquisition of Insight Communications and $3.6 billion wireless spectrum sale to Verizon in 2011. (Marc Lawrence-Apfelbaum serves as general counsel for TWC.)