So now it gets chippy.
Mayor Kevin Johnson, sensing the end of the fight, told reporters in Sacramento Wednesday that he’s advising Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, who apparently are still plotting intrigues, to — as it is so colorfully expressed in Irish pubs — bugger off.
The mayor said that the Seattle bidders, who were hit last week with a 7-0 vote against their plan to relocate the Kings to Seattle, should “take the high road” and be gracious.
“Once the relocation committee spoke as loud and as clear as it did, I would probably take a step back and understand that I’m probably not going to get this team. So how can I put Seattle in the best possible position to get a team moving forward?” the mayor said, speaking as if he were the loser.
Continuing to flap gums, he said, “In some respect, you’re poaching. You’re taking somebody else’s team.”
While some reports have suggested Hansen could still move forward with buying the Kings and keep them in Sacramento, Johnson said, “It’s not a scenario that we’re planning for.”
Johnson and Hansen are expected to be in Dallas next week, when the NBA Board of Governors is expected to take a final vote May 15 on whether to accept the relocation committee’s recommendation to deny the move.
Unclear yet is whether a second vote will take place to formally deny the sale of the team from the Maloof family to Hansen, or let the relocation vote stand on its own and presume the Maloofs will accept the Sacramento bidders’ backup offer, led by Golden State Warriors minority owner Vivek Ranadive.
“I’m sure there are 101 things that could go wrong or slow things up, but we’re all very hopeful that coming out of May 15, there will be a final decision,” the mayor said. Johnson said he was not fearful that the decision could be delayed, but that “there are just things that come up.
“I think we’re all on pins and needles waiting for the final decision. I’m confident and I expect that we will win and we will be able to keep our team in Sacramento. With that said, we are not gloating, we’re not over confident.”