Story Summary

NBA returning to Seattle?

After breaking Seattle basketball fans’ hearts by taking the Sonics to Oklahoma City in 2008, investor Chris Hansen, a Seattle native, worked hard to bring the beloved team back to Seattle.

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Sports
05/13/13

Bring Our Sonics Back party to feature Kemp, others

SonicsSEATTLE — A Bring Our Sonics back party is scheduled for Monday evening in advance of the NBA’s Board of Governors voting on a potential relocation of the Sacramento Kings.

The party will be held at 6 p.m. at Neumos on Capitol Hill. The free event will feature Geo of the Blue Scholars, Neema, Grynch, Nacho Picasso and other artists. It will be hosted by ex-Sonics star Shawn Kemp.

The party is sponsored by Neumos, Alive and Well and Sonics Gate. For more information on the party, click here.

Local News
05/12/13

Another crazy twist in Kings/Sonics saga

SACRAMENTO — The Maloof brothers, who own the Sacramento Kings, are giving Sonics fans another reason to hope for a return to Seattle.

sonicsESPN.com is reporting that the Maloofs are cutting a new deal with Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, the deep-pocketed Seattle-based investors trying to acquire the team.

Two sources told ESPN.com the Maloofs have informed their fellow owners that if their deal to sell and relocate the Kings to Seattle is not approved by league owners next week, they will not sell the team to a Sacramento-based group that wants to keep the Kings in Sacramento.

ESPN.com reports that the cash-strapped Maloofs have made a “backup” agreement with the Hansen-Ballmer group to sell them 20 percent of the team for $125 million to allow the Maloofs to continue to operate the franchise.

The new agreement follows Friday’s announcement that Hansen upped his offer by $75 million to buy the franchise. The voluntarily increase to the proposed purchase price for the Sacramento Kings went up from $550 million to $625 million.

Sources told ESPN.com that the new proposal also included a $115 million offer to owners as a relocation fee, which would amount to about $4 million per team. By comparison, in 2008 when the Oklahoma City Thunder moved from Seattle, they paid a $30 million fee to the other owners.

ESPN.com reports the NBA relocation committee is planning to re-evaluate the Hansen-Ballmer offer and has scheduled another meeting ahead of next Tuesday’s full owners’ meeting in Dallas.

SEATTLE — Chris Hansen’s investment group voluntarily increased their proposed purchased price for the Sacramento Kings NBA team Friday by $75 million, continuing the ever-evolving saga of bringing the Seattle Supersonics back to the Emerald City.

sonicsA final decision on the Kings’ move to Seattle is slated for later this month by the NBA’s board of governors. However, the NBA’s relocation committee recently recommended that the Kings stay in Sacramento, siding with the Sacramento’s mayor Kevin Johnson and his efforts to keep the Kings.

Hansen, Steve Ballmer and others announced their decision to raise their purchase price of the Kings on Sonicsarena.com.

Here is Hansen’s full release:

“May 10 • Messages from Chris The Latest on Bringing the NBA Back to Seattle

In an effort to further demonstrate the extent of our commitment to bring basketball back to Seattle, we have elected to voluntarily increase our proposed purchase price for the Sacramento Kings NBA Franchise by $75 million — from an enterprise value of $550 million to $625 million. In conjunction with our revised offer, we have also guaranteed to the NBA that the Franchise would be a revenue sharing payer in all years in Seattle.

We would also like to take the opportunity to again point out just how far ahead our Arena project is:

The ownership group has acquired 100% of the property necessary to construct the Arena.

We have 100% of our private financing for the Arena committed and in place.

After being approved by the City and County Councils the Arena MOU/legislation was signed into law by the Seattle Mayor and King County Executive on October 16, 2012. The referendum period expired 30 days later.

We engaged our Arena architects two years ago and have completed our detailed design schematics and costing.

We have filed for our Master Use Permit and are well underway with the Environmental Review Process, which we expect to conclude late this year.

While we appreciate that this is a very difficult decision for the league and owners, we hope it is understood that we really believe the time is now to bring the NBA back to Seattle, and that it is paramount that we do everything we can to put Seattle’s best foot forward in this process.”

— Chris Hansen

sonicsSACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL-TV) — Mayor Kevin Johnson said Tuesday that investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft’s  Steve Ballmer should “take the high road and be gracious” – and “step back” from their quest to buy the Kings and move the team to Seattle.

“Once the relocation committee spoke as loud and as clear as it did (7-0 vote against relocation), 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?” Johnson said at a news conference. “I would take the high road, and I would be gracious.”

The mayor added that “in some respect, you’re poaching, you’re taking somebody else’s team.”

Johnson brushed off reports that Hansen could still move forward with buying the Kings and keep them in Sacramento, saying, “It’s not a scenario that we’re planning for.”

The full NBA board of governors is expected to take a final vote on whether to approve the Maloof family’s sale of the Kings to Hansen and Ballmer — or to a Sacramento group led by Silicon Valley software exec Vivek Ranadive.

“I’m confident and I expect that we will win and we will be able to keep our team in Sacramento,” Johnson said. “With that said, we are not gloating, we’re not over confident.”

sonicsSACRAMENTO, Calif. — The investors who are trying to keep the Kings in Sacramento have told the NBA that if they are awarded the team, they will stop taking revenue-sharing money provided the league’s struggling franchises, The Sacramento Bee reported Monday.

The newspaper said that would mean the ownership group led by Vivek Ranadive would forfeit $15 million or more in annual assistance from the NBA’s wealthier clubs.

The pledge, first reported by Sports Business Journal, was made shortly before the NBA relocation committee voted last week to recommend the team stay put. That 7-0 vote sets up a final decision May 15 by the NBA board of governors, which will meet in Dallas.

 

The current owner of the Kings, the Maloof family, agreed to sell its controlling interest in the Kings for $357 million to Seattle’s investors led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Ranadive’s group wants the NBA to reject the Seattle deal and approve its offer to the Maloofs.

Irwin Raij, a sports attorney in New York, told the Bee he isn’t aware of a team in any pro sports league that has rejected revenue sharing.

SEATTLE — We start by putting our spotlight on everyone who felt NBA heartbreak earlier this week.

sonicsTo you, I say thank you.

Because you’re the reason Chris Hansen continues to fight. And you’re the reason Seattle will eventually get a team.

When the NBA’s relocation committee gave its unanimous recommendation to keep the Kings in Sacramento, that nauseating feeling returned. That same bitter, depressing knot was back in our stomachs. And while we shifted our anger toward Commissioner David Stern, many of us were madder at ourselves for once again becoming so emotionally invested in the idea of having pro basketball return to Seattle.

Worst of all, we’ve had to listen to the annoying know-it-alls beating their chests and saying, “I told you so — the league fooled you twice, so shame on you.”

But really, shame on us for what? For being fans? For having hope? For believing that one day the NBA would make things right? Because that hope still lives on.

After all, no matter what people say their motives are, Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer are in this for one reason: to bring smiles back to the Sonics fans who were wronged five years ago. No one jumps through that many hurdles, makes that many concessions and spends that much money if wealth is their top priority. It’s clear that they’re in this for the fans. And they’ll keep fighting, as long as we believe.

Remember, I stood here last year, incredulous as to why the City Council wasn’t immediately approving the initial Memorandum of Understanding for a new arena. But Hansen eventually made it work.

Now, we’re incredulous as to why the NBA is turning down such a sweetheart of a deal. It’s fair to believe Hansen will eventually make this work, too.

And while the league is making it increasingly clear that it might not be the Sacramento Kings, I think the NBA would still be hard-pressed to simply tell power players like Hansen and Ballmer to take a hike. Forget the rhetoric, something good is going to happen. It might not be this fall or even next year, but eventually, Seattle will get a team.

You can say that I’m living in denial with the other Sonics faithful. That our hope is blinding us against the constant hypocrisy of the NBA.

But I’m in it for the long haul. This game is far from over. And as long as we believe, I’m pretty sure Hansen and Ballmer will go for broke, too.

A Bothell man has started a campaign on the Internet to bring an NBA expansion team to Seattle.

Mehtab Dhaliwal has filed an online petition on Change.org and after two days more than 3,600 people have signed it.    The post said 96,337 signatures are needed.

On the website, Dhaliwal writes:

“This petition is made to start the movement to give Seattle a team in the NBA.

The Commissioner has been acting against the best interests of the league, players, and fans.

This is made to stop this dictatorship of his.”

david stern

sonicsSEATTLE – Just when the deal to move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle appeared dead, the current owners of the team said they still wanted to sell to the Seattle-based investment group led by Chris Hansen.

The Seattle PI reports a Maloof family spokesman said “there is no acceptable deal possible” with the newly formed Sacramento investment group. This is despite the NBA Relocation Committee voting unanimously earlier this week to deny the Kings a move to Seattle.

Hansen still has a binding agreement with the Maloof family that both sides reportedly intend to fulfill.  The NBA has never rejected a binding purchase agreement between one of its team’s owners and a buyer

The NBA Board of Governors will make a final decision on the fate of the Kings May 15. Hansen says he will be at the meeting to push owners to vote in his favor.

Sports
04/30/13

Sonics fan: “Feel your heart sink down to your ankle”

hansenSEATTLE — “You can just feel your heart sink down to your ankles,” said Sonics fan Dave Vahey. “It’s just a horrible feeling.”

  That was Vahey’s reaction to the NBA Relocation Committees’ recommendation that the Kings don’t leave Sacramento.

The NBA said its committee, which is composed of seven team owners, voted against the Maloof family’s proposed sale of the team to Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who lobbied to move the team to Seattle and build a new arena to host the team. Hansen has spent millions of dollars purchasing land in the SoDo district where a new arena was proposed to be built.

“It feels like somebody took away a kid you didn’t have a chance to adopt,” said Vahey.

  The recent resurgence in the Sonic movement has also fed Vahey’s growing t-shirt business over the last few years, though he now admits the hundreds of “We’re Back” shirts may be headed to Goodwill.

If the deal to bring the Kings to Seattle is dead, Mayor Mike McGinn is still optimistic that Hansen will find a team. The arena agreement with the city and county is for five years.

“We’ve got a great market, we’ve got a great arena deal, and we’ve got a great fan base, and we’ll just play our hand.” said McGinn. “ We’re a good place for an NBA team.”

  Chris Hansen himself is still optimistic about the Kings deal.

He issued a statement that said, in part:

“While we are disappointed with the relocation committee’s recommendation, we just wanted to let you all know that we remain fully committed to seeing this transaction through … we plan to unequivocally state our case for both relocation and our plan to move forward with the transaction to the league and owners at the upcoming Board of Governor’s Meeting in Mid-May … I just wanted to reassure all of you that we have numerous options at our disposal and have absolutely no plans to give up.”

  Hansen believes he can still convince NBA owners his deal is the best when they meet to vote on  May 13th.

  If they shoot down the binding deal, KJR Sportsradio host Ian Furness, who has followed the Sonics saga since day one, isn’t sure what .

“I know they spoke last night as a group and they are trying to figure out what the next step is,” said Furness. “It’s the great unknown and I don’t think Chris Hansen really, truly, knows what’s next.”

 One of the options would be a lawsuit from the Seattle group.

 It’s a depressing thought for Dave Vahey, but he believes the ultimate outcome, now or later, is the return of the Sonics.

  He has thousands of sold t-shirts to back him up.

“The fire is lit, the city is ready to rock and roll and there’s no way the NBA’s going to stop Seattle now.”

  Vahey is already selling a new T-shirt that he said is going like hot cakes, dedicated to NBA Commisioner, David Stern. Here’s a link to his website:

http://www.sonicsfever.com/

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