The Kings will stay in Sacramento, according the NBA Board of Governors, which met in Dallas Wednesday and voted 22-8 in favor of accepting the relocation committee’s earlier reported 7-0 recommendation. But Chris Hansen still says he wants to be the 20 percent partner of Maloof family that has not agreed to sell to anyone but Hansen.
“The edge went to the incumbent,” Commissioner David Stern said at a post-meeting press conference. “We don’t have anything concrete to support an NBA franchise in Seattle at this time.
“It is my expectation that we will make a deal between the Maloofs and and (Vivek) Ranadive group. It’s not a certainty. But (we want it done) just as soon as possible.”
Regarding the possibility of creating an expansion team for Seattle, Stern said, “There was generalized talk that it would be good in the future to expand. But that will be for (Adam Silver, commissioner-elect) and awaits television contract negotiations, which will begin soon.”
Asked what commitments were made to Seattle, Stern said. “Just our promise of fair dealing and ultimate consideration on our part.”
However, Hansen indicated on his website Wednesday afternoon that he has not given up on his proposal made Saturday to become a 20 percent partner of the Maloofs for $115 million. That would provide the cash for the Maloofs to continue to operate, but would fly in the face of the NBA’s agenda to be done with the Maloofs.
Wrote Hansen on sonicsarena.com:
While we are obviously extremely disappointed with today’s relocation vote and truly believe we put forth both a significantly better offer and Arena plan, we do thank the league and the owners for their time and consideration and look forward to hearing back on our agreement to join the Maloofs as limited partners in the Kings.
But most of all I would like to thank everyone in Seattle who has been a part of our effort and supported our cause. Words simply can’t express how much your support has meant to me personally and to our City. I truly believe we did everything possible to put our best foot forward in this process and you all should be proud and hold your heads high today.
Our day will come…and when it does it will just be that much sweeter for the struggle.
I love you Seattle!
There was no vote taken Wednesday on the sale, but Stern said the sale agreement between the Seattle group and the Maloofs “ended effectively with the relocation vote.” Hansen’s application to be a minority owner is subject to approval by the NBA, which seems unlikely to invite trouble with Hansen’s Seattle agenda complicating Sacramento’s pursuit of an arena.
Regarding Hansen’s original pitch, he said Seattle did nothing wrong as much as Sacramento did everything right.
“Once Sacramento got engaged in doing this, they delivered on the promise. The principle of advantage to the incumbent was going to prevail, looking back. Nobody thought the property was going to be acquired or all the money would be put into escrow.
“So kudos to Ranadive and all of the owners.”
There was no immediate response from the Seattle bidders.
Seattle was represented by Hansen and Wally Walker, along with the Maloof brothers, owners of the Kings. Steve Ballmer remained in Seattle at his day job with Microsoft, where he was hosting a conference of CEOs.
Both sides made separate presentations to 29 owners’ reps, and the Maloof brothers were summoned in for their own briefing as the owners took a break.
The vote broke a logjam that had been building since Hansen signed in January a purchase and sale agreement with the Maloofs that took both cities and the NBA by surprise, since the Maloofs said repeatedly the franchise was not for sale.
While Seattle partied on the presumption of relocation, Sacramento, directed by Commissioner David Stern and led by Mayor Kevin Johnson, mounted a furious comeback. Johnson rounded up several wealthy California investors and hammered out an arena plan for a downtown location and a term sheet that was passed by Sacramento’s city council.
Hansen countered with increases of $25 million and then $75 million. Stern said Wednesday’s vote was based on the $625 million figure.