Posted May 17, 2013

NBA Board of Governors votes to reject Kings relocation to Seattle

Ben Golliver, Chris Hansen, David Stern, Kevin Johnson, Sacramento Kings, Seattle Supersonics, Steve Ballmer, Vivek Ranadive
An NBA committee has voted against relocating the Kings to Seattle. (Rocky Widner/Getty Images)

The NBA’s Board of Governors voted against relocating the Kings to Seattle. (Rocky Widner/Getty Images)

The NBA’s Board of Governors voted at a meeting in Dallas on Wednesday to reject an investment group’s effort to relocate the Sacramento Kings to Seattle for the 2013-14 season.

NBA commissioner David Stern told reporters that the Board followed the lead of the league’s Relocation Committee, which unanimously recommended in April that the relocation bid should not go through.

“We are able to report to you that the NBA Board of Governors voted to reject the relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle,” Stern said. “The vote was 22 against relocation and eight for.”

By league rules, any franchise sale requires approval from 23 of the league’s 30 owners while any prospective relocation requires 16 “yes” votes. USA Today Sports and NBCSports.com first reported the decision.

The NBA will now proceed with efforts to negotiate a sale agreement between the Maloofs, who currently own a controlling interest in the Kings, and a Sacramento-based investment group led by TIBCO chairman Vivek Ranadive.

“We will talk to the Maloofs and see in the next 24 to 48 hours to see if we can help facilitate an agreement to be signed between the Ranadive group and the Maloofs for the sale of the franchise in Sacramento,” Stern said. “The [relocation] committee recommended to the board and it was adopted that if the Sacramento community could produce a site, a construction team, a financially strong ownership group and the kind of support by the city and the region that Mayor [Kevin] Johnson has galvanized that the appropriate outcome was to keep the team in Sacramento and that’s what they did.”

The Seattle-based group, led by Valiant Capital’s Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, was therefore left empty-handed.

“The Seattle presentation was brisk, firm, excellent and reflects the efforts that have been put into this and the extraordinary ownership group they have put together,” Stern said. “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.”

Hansen issued a brief statement on SonicsArena.com Wednesday afternoon.

“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,” Hansen’s statement read.

He then expressed his gratitude to fans in Seattle.

“I would like to thank everyone in Seattle who has been a part of our effort and supported our cause,” he wrote. “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.”

The Board’s decision provides a resolution to an uncertain situation that has dragged on for months and marked the end of what has been a wild week.

Stern initially expected the decision to be made during mid-April Board of Governors meetings, only to push that back multiple times. Stern has repeatedly referred to the handling of the Kings as one of the toughest decisions he’s faced as commissioner.

“It’s the only time in the last 47 years that I haven’t known the answer,” he said back in April. “No, but this is one that’s just been quite difficult and confusing for the owners as well.  And we’ve been working very hard to give it a structure at their direction.  We’re the staff, and we are trying to answer every question that they have.”

The NBA announced a purchase and sale agreement between the Maloofs and the Seattle group back in January. That deal involved a purchase of 65 percent of the team at an overall franchise valuation of $525 million. The group later filed the requisite paperwork to relocate the franchise to Seattle for the 2013-14 season, where the organization would have taken on the “SuperSonics” moniker, and then upped its offer based on a $550 million valuation. The original SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder in 2008.

Earlier this week, in anticipation of the Board’s vote, Hansen announced on SonicsArena.com that he was “voluntarily increasing our proposed purchase price” for the Kings to reflect a franchise valuation of $625 million. ESPN.com then reported that the Maloofs had reached a “back-up deal” that would have allowed Hansen and company to purchase 20 percent of the Kings for $125 million in the event that the Board voted against their relocation bid. Such a deal would theoretically hamstring a Sacramento group’s efforts to purchase the franchise.

Johnson and a number of investors — including Ranadive, 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, billionaire Ron Burkle, and Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs — have worked diligently to keep the Kings where they are, preparing a competing offer for the Kings and agreeing to terms on a new Downtown Plaza arena deal. Kings fans organized “Here We Buy” nights to show their support for keeping Sacramento’s only major professional sports franchise in town. The Sacramento Bee reported earlier this month that Ranadive, a minority owner of the Warriors, put 50 percent of the Sacramento group’s bid for the Kings into escrow.

The Maloofs expressed their preference for a deal with the Seattle group over the Sacramento group on multiple occasions, including in an April letter to the NBA’s relocation committee.

Stern expressed optimism Wednesday that a deal could be reached between the Maloofs and Ranadive.

“I anticipate that they will come to be open [to a deal] and I plan to visit with them and close, hopefully, on that anticipation,” he said. “The Maloofs have the right to retain ownership of the franchise. … It’s my expectation that we will be able to make a deal… to transfer the title of the team in Sacramento.”

George Maloof addressed reporters in Dallas after the meeting’s conclusion.

“If it had to turn out this way, it’s fine with us,” he said, according to NBA.com. “But my loyalty’s to Chris, because he stepped up. … The Mayor did a great job. He put a great team together. We’ll see what happens. It’s not over.”

The proposed relocation of the Kings to Seattle came after the Maloofs previously explored moving the team to Anaheim and Virginia Beach.

Stern has maintained on numerous occasions this year that expanding the NBA to 31 teams to accommodate both cities will not be considered until the league renegotiates its television rights deals, which run through the 2015-16 season.

“There was a generalized talk [Wednesday] that it would be good in the future to consider that [expansion] issue [after] awaiting the next television renegotiation which is virtually upon us, in a year or so,” he said.

Stern will step down as commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014, marking 30 years after he assumed the league’s top post. Silver, currently Stern’s deputy commissioner, is expected to take over.

35 comments
Korn
Korn

Stern has shown his duplicity.  Or maybe the owners have too. I do not know who is wagging this dog's tail.

But for sure, the NWest and Seattle was sold a bill of goods and was left holding the bag when Sonics move to Oky. Where was Stern and the NBA at the time Oklahoma wanted to move the Sonics? NOWHERE. Now they are suddenly good samaritans.

Hypocrisy? 

Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck...maybe Seattle did in deed get ...ucked?


supsonics
supsonics

You know what...CONGRATULATIONS to SACRAMENTO! You fought and kept your team. Our fans have been fighting since 2007, but did not have local Government support and an owner that sold us out to another owner who took our Sonics away. 

That said...Stern is either vindictive or going senile. Even Commish2Be Silver looked a little uncomfortable during his ramblings yesterday. I'm hoping and even felt Silver was a little more in Seattle's corner and while he has to bite his tongue and bide his time for Stern to leave (and that won't be a moment too soon based on his latest antics) Silver will want to make his own mark on the league. Something tells me (call it a hunch) Silver wants this market for real and not for leverage like Stern.


http://supersonicsconspiracy.blogspot.com/



Ciscos
Ciscos

I guess in summary, the problem was $4 million on the table wasn't enough for the other owners.  Seeing that Steve Ballmer(sp) from Microsoft is one of the investors, I can see where the owners wanted preferred shares of MS stock, free copies of Office 2013, and free tablets for their wives and kids.  If Stevie B threw those in David Stern would have said, "Seattle we have a deal!"  But the little turtle didn't and he didn't opt to encourage the owners to accept the deal.

I'm not saying that the investment group Kevin Johnson put together in Sacramento isn't viable, but last I checked, the Maloof's can sell to whom they want.  And if the Sacramento team isn't it, then guess what? They're not it and now the NBA and David Stern have a problem.

My economics minor in college tells me this has little to do with keeping the team in Sacramento and more about the perceived value of NBA franchises.  Ownership, as dense as they act, are for the most part, not surrounded by dummies.  The NBA has always wanted to be on par with the NFL in popularity - and value.  Stern has never said it, but he's never denied it either.  If you follow his slimy trail, you'd see every single act of his for the league has not only been about himself and his power, but attempting to elevate the viewership and appeal of the sport.  That's what he's supposed to do, but here's a newsflash, the NBA isn't MLB, and it damn sure isn't the NFL.  How can I say that?  If Stern was as concerned with the overall stability of the league, he would never have approved (yes him, not his lackey subcommittee) the ownership of the storied Supersonics moving that franchise from Seattle to OKC. Yeah, there was the little problem of getting them a new stadium, but in reality, how hard was Stern working, helping, assisting Seattle keep that team?  Not much.

As the Maloofs said, this isn't over - and I believe them. Johnson's Sacramento team may have won the battle, but they haven't won the war.  The Maloofs as daft as they've been in running the Kings lately are no fools either. So when they say it's not over. It isn't. I wouldn't be surprised if they're contemplating a legal challenge.

Is a legal challenge viable? I dunno. But that didn't stop Al Davis either and I doubt it'll stop the Maloofs.

Stewie'S My Hero
Stewie'S My Hero

Boils down to Seattle screwed up and Howard Stern hates Seattle. Seattle won't miss this biased jerk when he retires as the NBA commissioner.

TerrapinStation87
TerrapinStation87

There is unrest in the forest. There is trouble with the trees. For the maples want more sunlight and the oaks ignore their pleas.

Zeshan
Zeshan

"I'll keep this brief; I need to get to the Oklahoma Thunder game."

--David Stern, at the outset of his press conference following the NBA Board of Governors meeting.

If that doesn't tell you about the integrity of Stern and the game, nothing will. Go f**k yourself, Stern.

FCC
FCC

And the NBA continues to be the biggest joke in pro sports

carnage_2012
carnage_2012

I just heard a collective "awwwwwwwww" from the northwest.

doublejtrain68
doublejtrain68

Why shouldn't they go to Seattle? Sacramento has no business having a pro sports franchise, like Jacksonville in the NFL. If they could get people to actually watch their games and actually put out good teams year in and year out, everything would be fine. I know I will get in trouble for saying that, but it's the truth. Seattle should have never lost their franchise in the first place, but incompetent ownership and city officials unwilling to cooperate will do that. 

sackinghustle
sackinghustle

You guys are doing far too much whining in here. THE SACRAMENTO KINGS ARE OUR TEAM!!! Seattle should be ashamed of themselves for trying to rip our team away from us. We've been begging the Maloofs to sell for years, they always claimed the team was not for sale NOR up for relocation. All the while trying to move the team anywhere they could then when that didnt work they SOLD the team knowing they would move!! You guys keep saying oh what about Vancouver, what about Seattle, this city, that city. None of those cities had a arena deal on the table before moving. None of them. The Kings did. None of those cities made sure their lawmakers supported keeping the team in that city, WE DID!! So just because the mistake was made in the past the NBA should continue making the same mistakes? I hope Seattle gets a team, I truly do but the Kings belong in Sacramento. We've suffered with this team, triumphed with this team, and everything in between. WE SUFFERED WITH THOSE OWNERS, CHEERED WITH THOSE OWNERS, and they tried to eff us over time and time again. They're so underhanded too, send Gavin and Joe out to be nice guys, then retardo George to do the dirty work. HERE WE STAYED!!! BTW, once the Maloofs sell, you can rest assure Sacramento will never let things get this far down the road again. So KC, dream on, it's not going to happen.

rick.scott.rodriguez
rick.scott.rodriguez

How in the world is this not collusion, or at least a conflict of interest?  Why is a governing body who votes or rejects a relocation deal also going to facilitate a sale to a competing party? How can a governing body be impartial unless it is separate from the business interests of the owners?

This is all sorts of corrupt. As a Texas resident, I really don't have any vested interest in the Kings (or NBA in general), however I find it dumbfounding that a relocation bid and business-related matters are decided by the sport's governing body and not the business partners interested in the deal.

pjacob300
pjacob300

Where was this stewardship when they ripped the supersonics from Seattle? Absolutely disgusting. Love the game but run like the NHL.

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

In other words the NBA owners hope to extort a billion dollar franchise fee from a Seattle ownership group. The disgusting thing in all this is that the Maloof family, who have been disgraceful owners, will pocket a huge profit - largely because Sacramento is building the team a free arena.

MickTimbrell
MickTimbrell

This league and it whole way of operating are a joke, David Stern's credibility is laughable at best when it comes to how relocation is handle by this league, there is no discernable pattern or reasoning behind the decisions being made. They claim to be looking out for the fans and they really care about the fans, well what about the fans in Seattle, Vancouver, Charlotte and to a lesser extent New Jersey? Why are they not worth fighting for? or in the case of Seattle why are they being fought against? Is the currency in Oklahoma, Memphis, New orleans & Brooklyn worth more than those other markets? I mean Vancouver has a market of 4.5 Million people across British Columbia, that's competitive with almost all major markets in the U.S., with a Canadian dollar that is on par with the U.S. dollar yet there was no problem putting them in a much smaller market, even after Michael Hiesly claimed he would keep the team in Vancouver. All this is especially maddening when hear these yahoos talking about "expansion over seas" whenever they are doing a publicity stunt (oops I mean exhibition game) in Asia or Europe yet won't even consider expansion when it comes to Seattle.Drop the number of players on an NBA team down to 14, this would make sure the talent pool remains high while allowing for the new team, seems pretty simple to me. 

Atrain81
Atrain81

Wow--eight comments.  The espn.com story has like 3,000.

stabmasterarson21
stabmasterarson21

Did we really want a goober like Ballmer as one of the owners?  LMAO!

Poormansdream
Poormansdream

Best part of this article, "stern will step down as commissioner". There is a god!

coltsfan92651
coltsfan92651

Only postponing the inevitable.  Sacramento will never get a downtown arena complete.  The current Seattle group will move onto other things and in a few years the Kings will be up for sale and be moved, not to Seattle as those citizens are now deflated.  Most likely to Anaheim, because the Los Angeles market needs another NBA team to ignore.

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

again maybe if balmer and hansen had lied like Howard Shultz did to the people of Seattle, then they would've gotten the team, but this whole time since january they have been honest and also the way that the Sacarmento got to keep there team included the new owner bribing the members of the 7 member comittee by being able to sit in on that meeting, as that had never before happened.  Again people in seattle, vancouver, charlotte and oh yeah also KC ddi stern not do anything to keep them in that city.  Again I do not see the Maloofs going quietly or Balmer and Hansen either and I have a feeling this is just the start not the end of it.  As again this team was all but gone in January, they were headed to the pacific northwest until Stern decided to step in, as again we don't know the dela other then the Kings won't have to pay money to the other teams.  Again if you think the Maloofs are going to quietly you are sadly mistaken as there going to say we should be able to sell to whoever we damn well please and back in january stern seemed to resigned to the fact the kings were leaving for better things.  Again if the Kings were to move, you think anyone would notice, they have 3 hockey teams, 5 baseabll teams and would still have 3 basketball teams no one would even notice.  Again Balmer and hansen should've just lied as they likely would've had a better chance as they have kept the league abreast of everything including the how they would fund the arena, how they would play in a rennovated Key Arena, and by the way when the sonics left stern said a rennovated key arena would do.  I mean again let's say the Kings do stay in Sacramento there going to end up like the Miami Marlins, remeber all the bull loria told the Miami voters, if you only give us a brand new stadium we would have the revenue to feild a competive team and what happens, they do, and guess what the taxpayer left to pay for a new stadium, and nothing else, this will happen with the kings, as even if you do get owners who care, ask me even in there hey day when the kings were comeptive not many free agents wanted to go there it was basketball cyberia and still is

bighen84
bighen84

Im Glad the owners have not allowed Sacramento to have its team stolen from them like Seattle had theres. Still hoping they get a team soon but not this way. What a rivalry Sac/Seattle will be now when they do get a team

Merv
Merv

@Stewie'S My Hero David Stern dislikes Seattle also.  People who like Butt Kissers don't like people who stand up to them.  

Stewie'S My Hero
Stewie'S My Hero

NBA is like politics who kisses butt the best and has has the most money.

JasonLeBel
JasonLeBel

@doublejtrain68 "If they could get people to actually watch their games"??? SAC has sold out every game in 17 of the last 26 seasons. This has nothing to do with the fans not coming out, just look at all the local support they've had.
You'll get in trouble for saying what you did, because there's no truth in it.

Merv
Merv

@pjacob300 The Stewardship was in the same place as it was when Vancouver and Charlotte were moved.  


sackinghustle
sackinghustle

@coltsfan92651 The only way that happens if is the Maloofs dont sell the team. Once they sell, you'll see how fast things move forward. Hate it if you want to but the Kings are staying in Sacramento. PERIOD!!!

MrGameandShow
MrGameandShow

@coltsfan92651 You mean this inevitable scenario:  Seattle gets a team in 2015 somehow by expansion. Sactown endsup going to Kansas City. Sactown left out complaining like Seattle.

SephirothDZX
SephirothDZX

@bighen84 Is it theft when the item in your possession was never really yours in the first place? Let's not trick our brains into thinking that Sacramento didn't originally steal the Kings first.

__ICoraxI__
__ICoraxI__

@bighen84 

Personally, I doubt the NBA will be expanding in the next couple of  years. An interesting point I heard on talk radio regarded Tampa Bay's status in the MLB for decades; lots of teams discussed moving there, but they were not given a team for decades. Teams that were in danger of moving and their owners/cities were, in essence, threatened with relocation to Tampa Bay (what was considered a hot market for a MLB team) every time the issue came up. If Stern's anti-Seattle policies and attitude continue even after his reign, then Seattle will not be getting an NBA team very soon.

Luckily for them, they've got the Seahawks to latch on to and root for. 

kcfan2415
kcfan2415

@bighen84 Stolen? What about when Rochester, Cincinnati, and Kansas City/Omaha had the Kings stolen from them?

Merv
Merv

@sackinghustle @coltsfan92651 You are right the Kings will stay in Sacramento and continue to be an NBA basket case, new arena or not.   525 is way too much for a team in a market like Sacramento with only the Government of California being a major business.  The new arena will get built but, judging by the pictures, it is just an average boiler plate arena and while much nicer than ST it is nothing special. 

Once the newness wears off Sacramento will still still not be able to attract key free agents and will continue to be a bottom feeder team with moments of competitiveness.

bighen84
bighen84

@kcfan2415 @bighen84 Way before my time and i wont act like i know any details of those sales but its obvious the maloofs are bitter with Sacramento and Gov. Johnson and are doing any and everything they can to sell out of city regardless of Sacramento doing everything they are asked to keep the team there.  Stolen is a strong word to use but no doubt the whole thing had a dirty feel to it