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I’d like to start out by congratulating Mayor Johnson and the fans in Sacramento for the tremendous effort they put together to keep their team. Given what our community went through in 2008, if there is any silver lining in this for Seattle it is seeing Sacramento’s dedicated fan base successfully rally to ... READ MORE HERE
The Maloof family has sold the franchise to an investment group headed by Vivek Ranadive for a reported $347 million. There was a competing bid from a group that would have moved the club to Seattle, but NBA owners earlier this week voted to keep the team in Sacramento.
A new stadium deal, something the Maloof family worked unsuccessfully to complete, is part of the overall package.
"It's about jobs and it's about revitalizing downtown," said Johnson in front of a large group of fans that packed at City Hall on Friday. "It's about civic pride. It's about not letting somebody take something that isn't theirs."
Johnson, a former NBA player, worked tirelessly to keep the Kings in Sacramento after repeated efforts for a new stadium plan with the Maloof family continually fell apart.
The Maloof family had agreed in January to sell a 65 percent share of the team to a group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who would have moved the Kings to Seattle.
On March 27, the Sacramento City Council approved a public-private deal to build a new 18,500-seat arena and retail center downtown, leading to the purchase bid from Ranadive's group.
The league heard proposals from both groups in April and decided Wednesday, by a 22-8 vote, to keep the team in Sacramento. The actual sale agreement must still be approved by the NBA's Board of Governors.
Ranadive, a partial owner of the Golden State Warriors, will have to divest his interest in the franchise.
The Maloof family had controlling ownership of the Kings since 1999.
Seattle has been without an NBA team since the SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City following the 2007-08 campaign. The Sonics were an expansion franchise in 1967-68.
The Kings, meanwhile, have been in numerous cities since their inception in 1948-49. They began as the Rochester Royals until 1956-57, then stopped in Cincinnati through 1971-72 before moving to the Midwest. They changed their name to the KC-Omaha Kings before becoming the Kansas City Kings in 1975-76, then moved to Sacramento for the start of the 1985-86 season.
05/17 14:54:36 ET
The Sacramento Bee announced Thursday the Maloofs completed the sale to the investment grouped headed by Vivek Ranadive for a record $535 million. An official announcement is expected Friday, and the deal needs to be approved by the NBA's Board of Governors.
Team owners voted Wednesday to keep the Kings in Sacramento and rejected Chris Hansen's planned relocation of the franchise to Seattle.
The Maloof family had agreed in January to sell a 65 percent share of the team to a group led by hedge fund manager Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who were looking to move the Kings to Seattle and rename it the SuperSonics. The Board of Governors followed an April committee recommendation to stop the Kings from relocating.
On March 27, the Sacramento City Council approved a public-private deal to build a new 18,500-seat arena and retail center downtown.
The Kings went 28-54 this past season and missed the playoffs from the seventh consecutive year.
05/17 02:29:14 ET
Dallas - The dream of the NBA returning to Seattle in the near future is dead for now.
The NBA announced today that they denied relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle. The Maloof's, at this point, still maintain ownership of the team, but both the NBA and the Sacramento group are confident that a deal can be achieved.
The press conference certainly took on a negative tone, when NBA Commissioner David Stern said this in his opening remarks:
"This is going to be short for me. I have a game to get to in Oklahoma City."
That line will clearly not sit well with Seattle fans, and it shouldn't.
On his website, Chris Hansen released the following statement:
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!
Even though the agreement with Sacramento fell through the league did not shut the door on expansion in Seattle, in fact, the door was very much left open.
"I think there was a generalized talk that it would be good in the future just to consider that issue, but awaiting the next television renegotiation which is virtually upon us. Especially in terms of the year or so, or what have you, that it was best to await that event, " said NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Stern was asked if the league had made any promises to Seattle "Just that our promise of fair dealing and ultimate consideration down the road."
But, for fans looking for anything concrete, Stern would not commit to that.
"We look forward to continuing the dialogue of some type with the citizens and potential owners in Seattle, but we don't have anything concrete to support with respect to an NBA franchise in Seattle at this time," said Stern.
Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, who will take over February 1st of 2014 added:
"We've never wavered in our desire to return to the Seattle market at some point, as Chris Hansen made clear in his presentation to the Board of Governors today. The league continues to enjoy strong support in the Seattle market. We have strong support for our telecast, our national telecast in Seattle, and expansion was discussed at least as a possibility down the road. We want to wait and see what happens in our next national television negotiation, but we're very appreciative of the fans in Seattle, and we've regretted having to leave the market the last time and we fully expect we'll return there one day."
The league acknowledged that this wasn't necessarily a victory for the NBA, but rather it was a victory for Sacramento.
"That is to say it's nice to see two great cities being so interested on an NBA franchise, but the big winner here was Sacramento," Stern said.
The NBA has said that in the next "24 to 48 hours" they hope to have a deal w/ Vivek Ranadive and the Maloof's.
The league confirmed that they voted on the Hansen groups offer of $625, however, the Sacramento group will pay the valuation of $525 to the Maloof's, if they accept.
If you have followed this story at all, I think we all come away thinking that Sacramento was given every advantage along the way. The concern in Seattle is whether or not support will now disappear after this latest effort falling short.
"I believe that at such time as there is a franchise that is available under NBA procedures and rules or through expansion and that conversation takes place, that the right forces will be present in Seattle to achieve that result," said Stern.
As they did in 2008 the message from the NBA to Seattle is to wait your turn and you will be reawarded at some point in the future. However, that type of promise will most certainly fall on deaf ears in Seattle.
Stern avoided my question when I asked him that five years ago Seattle dropped a lawsuit because the NBA asked them to do so and now you are asking Seattle to essentially do the same thing.
"This was not an anti‑Seattle vote, this was a pro‑Sacramento vote, And that is just the way the committee and ultimately the board decided it would be done, " Stern said.
I followed that up with, was Seattle used as a pawn?
"I must say that the mayor (Kevin Johnson) came in and said we understand that there is this offer in Seattle. What do we have to do to keep the team here and the committee responded. You've got to match the offer, have a building, and get a good ownership group that can make it happen, and it happened. Then the committee decided ‑‑ didn't have any preconceived notions, but looking at both evenly they said that the edge went to the incumbent, so that's the way it came out."
As I mentioned before, eight owners voted for the relocation and one of those was Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen. Through his representative, Seahawks and Sounders President Peter McLoughlin, he made it known that Allen, because of Paul's ownership of the Seahawks and Sounders and the fact that he lives in Seattle, it was important for him to be supportive of city.
"It was important for him to be supportive of Seattle and he always has been. He's always wanted the NBA to return to Seattle and has always said it was a sad day when the NBA left," McLoughlin said.
So, what's the next step now? I don't think anyone truly knows the answer to that question. But, with his statement today, Hansen made it clear that he still wants to pursue the NBA, however, will the reaction be the same for the fans and the political structure?
Dallas- It was a somewhat slow and uneventful day in Dallas, however things picked up as the day wore on.
On the eve of when NBA owners will meet and are expected to take a vote on relocation and sale of the Sacramento Kings, it still seems unclear to what direction the NBA will go in.
It was reported on Monday, after the finance and relocation committee met, that they would offer the same recommendation as before, which was to decline relocation of the Kings to Seattle.
Again, the day was a little slow in the beginning, until I looked up from my computer.
As I was sitting in the hotel lobby, I ran into Kings owner George Maloof. Maloof said he's "100 percent behind Chris" and his family is eager for this process to be over.
Maloof went on to say that he hopes that the committee agrees to the sale and relocation to the Hansen group.
When I asked him directly about what would happen if the NBA turns down Hansen, and whether or not he would agree to a deal with the local Sacramento group? Maloof said his agreement with Hansen prevents him from answering that question and he's committed to them.
One could speculate that he could have come out and said they refuse to sell to the Ranadive group, but he chose not to be so definitive with his position. Folks in Sacramento and Seattle will most likely view that differently.
My observation of Maloof is that he looked very tired and looked like a man who was ready for this saga to be over. Furthermore, he looked like, in my opinion, a man that had a defeated look on his face.
Anyways, what we know about tomorrow is that the NBA owners will start meeting at 1pm central time, so 11am in Seattle. It's expected that they will first take a vote on relocation, which is expected to be rejected based on the recommendation. After the relocation vote, the owners will allegedly vote on the sale of the Kings to the Hansen/Ballmer group.
What we are unaware at this point is how long those meetings will take place and when a press conference will be held. Once we know the exact time, we'll pass it along and of course the press conference will air on Sports Radio KJR.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson spoke to reporters in Sacramento before he boarded a plane to Dallas and he once again reiterated that he feels the city has done enough to retain the team. Johnson said he and Vivek Ranadive will speak in front of the owners tomorrow.
Johnson was also asked about whether or not the Sacramento group had placed 100 percent of their purchase offer to the Maloof's into an escrow account. Johnson said, “They told us last week we need to have 50 percent in escrow and now we are told we needed to have 100 percent in escrow, you may as well make an assumption on your own.”
Johnson also spoke to reporters in Dallas once he arrived and said he was very confident in tomorrow's vote.
"Our hope is that we get a favorable outcome on both relocation and our ownership group being approved."
Once again, Johnson talked about whether or not the Sacramento group had put in the full 100 percent of the $341 million purchase offer into an escrow account and once again he was vague.
"If the NBA asked them to put in 100%, I think you have to read between the lines."
When pressed for clarification, Johnson said ,"I'm going to avoid that question."
Johnson was also asked to clarify his comments, in which he assessed blame to Sonics fans back in 2008 for losing their team.
"In context I said if I were them I would be fighting like heck and crazy and at some point you gotta take a high road if there is a final decision. Only they can determine when that is. I don't want infringe on their play calling."
Peter McLoughlin, who is the President of the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders, who is representing Blazers owner Paul Allen, stopped by and spoke for a few brief moments. McLoughlin said "I don't know how it will play out" in regards to Wednesdays vote.
McLoughlin was asked which way Allen is leaning and he was non-committal of his vote. However, when I caught up with McLoughlin last month in New York City, he told me that he didn't see a scenario where Allen would vote against Hansen and Ballmer.
McLoughlin was asked if he thinks its possible that both cities leave Dallas happy, "I don't know."
So, where do we stand? Honestly, I don't know. And, I know that's not the answer many of you want to hear, but I truly have no idea how this will end up. I will tell you this, tomorrow will be an insanely crazy day. I'll be downstairs of the hotel bringing you the very latest. Again, the meetings start tomorrow at 11am pacific, but the fun will start much earlier!