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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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This story has 9 updates
Sports
04/30/13

Sad Sonics’ fan: ‘Like losing a kid we never got to adopt’

imagesSEATTLE — Mayor Mike McGinn is putting on a brave face in spite of the news that the NBA’s relocation committee voted 7-0 against moving the Sacramento Kings.

Chris Hansen’s Seattle group has a purchase agreement with the Maloofs, current Kings’ owners, but the thought among a lot of people is that the deal is dead.

McGinn said if it is, the city’s deal with Hansen to build a new arena still has several years and there are presumably several more deals to be done to secure a team.

But to Sonics fans, it’s a big blow.

“It feels like we’re losing a kid we never got to adopt,” David Vahey said.

Vahey was printing new Sonics T-shirts with the words “We’re Back!,” when he got the news about the relocation  committee. He immediately put the T-shirts on hold.

“It just hurts,” he said.

Guests
04/30/13

GUEST: Kings to stay in Sacramento

Sports
04/30/13

What’s next for Sonics?

sonics

SEATTLE — The NBA relocation committee voted against the Sacramento Kings moving to a new market, so what does that mean for the future of the Sonics?

The vote doesn’t necessarily kill Chris Hansen’s bid to buy the team and the NBA Board of Governor’s still has to vote on it in mid-May.

One thing is certain — Sonics’ fans are crushed, believing that once again Seattle gets the shaft from the NBA, especially with continued talk on no new expansion teams.

We are talking to Mayor McGinn and others today about the next step in this saga…More on this at 4 and 5 p.m.

Sports
04/30/13

Hansen: ‘Impossible is nothing but a state of mind’

Here is the full statement released from Chris Hansen in regards to the NBA’s relocation committee denying Hansen’s bid to move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle.

“To the Sonics Faithful:

HansenWhile 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. As you are all well aware, we have a binding transaction to purchase the Kings for what would be a record price for an NBA franchise, have one of the best ownership groups ever assembled to purchase a professional sports team in the US, have clearly demonstrated that we have a much more solid Arena plan, have offered a much higher price than the yet to be finalized Sacramento Group, and have placed all of the funds to close the transaction into escrow. As such, 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.

 When we started this process everyone thought it was impossible. While this represents yet another obstacle to achieving our goal, I just wanted to reassure all of you that we have numerous options at our disposal and have absolutely no plans to give up. Impossible is nothing but a state of mind.

 ‘Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.’ ―Muhammad Ali

 —Chris Hansen” 

Sports
04/30/13

Hansen: We have not yet begun to fight!

SEATTLE — Plans to bring the Sonics back to Seattle hit a major roadblock Monday when the NBA’s Relocation Committee unanimously recommended an NBA team stay in Sacramento.

But Chris Hansen vows to continue his fight to bring the Kings to the Emerald City.

“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,” Hansen said.

The seven-member NBA relocation committee recommended Monday not to move the Kings to Seattle. The panel, made up of team owners, previously moved the Sonics to Oklahoma City.

Hansen

Hansen currently has a binding transaction in place with the Kings’ owners to purchase the team despite the committees recommendation including a $30 million non-refundable deposit. He also has a five-year memorandum of understanding with Seattle and King County on the recent arena plan.

The NBA Relocation Committee voted unanimously Monday to deny the Kings move from Sacramento to Seattle.

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.

Monday night, Hansen issued a statement on his sonicsarena.com website. In part, it says:

“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.”

Mayor Mike McGinn, issued a statement on the decision that said, “I’m proud of how Sonics fans have rallied together to help Seattle get a team. We’re going to stay focused on our job: making sure Seattle remains in a position to get a team when the opportunity presents itself.”

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson sent out a tweet applauding Kings’ fans, saying, “I’ve never been prouder of this city. I thank the ownership group, city leaders, but most of all the BEST FANS IN THE NBA!!!”

Johnson also tweeted, “I want to take my hat off to Seattle. You’re a great city, had a great proposal, unbelievable fans & no doubt deserve a time in the future.:

The full Board of Governors is not expected to vote on the Kings until May 13. However, the committee’s recommendation carries enough weight to be influential on any decision that is reached. Hansen and Ballmer would need to gather 23 or 30 owners’ votes to gain control of the Kings.

Sonics fans are hoping that the Board of Governors will announce on May 13 that the next expansion NBA team will be awarded to Seattle, but right now that’s only a hope.

Monday’s vote was announced after a two-hour conference call with committee members and capped months of what the Sacramento Bee newspaper called “unprecedented arm wrestling over the lowly Kings.”

In January, the Maloofs agreed to an offer by Hansen to purchase 65 percent of the team, and he had to up his initial offering of $341 million to $357 million in April after a counter offer by a group of Sacramento investors matched Hansen’s initial bid.

Seattle and Sacramento lobbied for the team and offered to build new, arenas to house the team. Seattle was hoping to bring back an NBA team after losing the Sonics to Oklahoma City in 2008 and touted itself as a more viable locale for the team due to its market size. Sacramento lobbied to keep the team and highlighted its hometown loyalty to the franchise as well as being a one-team town, the Bee reported.

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Clippers

SEATTLE – Seattle could know later today if the Sacramento Kings will be moving to the Emerald City.

And one Puget Sound family has a big stake in the decision.

Local singer Kalieb Nash is featured in the Sonics anthem, “We Ready,” produced by Edawg and Chris Hansen last fall.

In the anthem, Nash sings, “We want our Sundays back and we’re not taking no for an answer.” The 20-year old previously sang the national anthem for the Seattle Supersonics and Storm.

In an interesting twist of fate, Nash’s cousin is NBA guard Isaiah Thomas, who currently plays for the Kings. The NBA Relocation/Finance Committee will meet via teleconference Monday to make a recommendation on the fate of the Kings.

The final decision is up to the NBA’s Board of Governors, which could make a decision within weeks.

david sternThe Sacramento Bee is reporting that the NBA owners’ committee will convene on Monday to discuss the sale and relocation of the Sacramento Kings basketball team.

The committee consists of 12 owners and the meeting will take place via a conference call, the paper reported. Commissioner David Stern told the Bee that the committee’s recommendation could come as early as May 3, which would be the earliest it could vote per NBA rules.

The rules state team owners must wait seven business days before acting on the committee’s recommendation.

The committee has to weigh two offers: Chris Hansen’s and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s bid of $357 million who want to move the team to Seattle or the offer by a group of eight investors that offered $341 million and want to keep the team in Sacramento.

SEATTLE –While I’m still confident about Seattle’s chances in the fight for the Sacramento Kings, we put our spotlight on a huge twist that came on Friday:

The voting itinerary.

Until Friday, we all assumed the NBA’s Board of Governors’ first vote would be whether to approve the Kings’ sale to Chris Hansen’s group, which needs a three-quarter majority. If approved, relocation, which needs simple majority, would’ve been a foregone conclusion.

Instead, NBA Commissioner David Stern reversed the two – stating the NBA would vote on relocation first, and then the actual sale to Hansen’s group.

This is a huge development. It puts the larger focus on the relocation – and shoves the Hansen purchase agreement aside.

The first vote is no longer asking “which deal is better for the league?” It’s asking “are you really ready to move the Kings franchise out of Sacramento?”

In other words, the NBA is putting morals ahead of money – which seems unprecedented.

SternIt’s a clever move by Commissioner Stern, who says he’s impartial to the ultimate decision. But this voting order reflects reports that Stern is doing everything he can to support Sacramento’s side. If the owners reject relocation first, then they never have to officially vote on Hansen’s purchase agreement with the Maloofs. In essence, they wouldn’t be giving Hansen and Steve Ballmer a direct “no” based on the merits of their plan. They just wouldn’t be voting on it at all.

If relocation wasn’t involved, the decision would be simple. Hansen’s plan has better funding. It has a larger media market. It has potential for more money – that would contribute to the league’s new revenue-sharing plan.

It’s a no-brainer.

But by voting on relocation first, it lessens Sacramento’s comparative deficiencies, and could potentially reward the incumbent city’s patchwork plan and last-minute effort by allowing it to keep its team.

Imagine if David Stern had posed this question to the Board of Governors back in 2008? What if he had said forget the logistics, the money, and a viable arena plan. Is this committee ready to uproot the Sonics from a city it has been a part of for 41 years? Is it ready to punish a devoted fan-base by taking their team?

I’d imagine fewer than 28 owners would’ve said “yes.”

In a sense, that’s what’s happening here. By voting on relocation first, Stern is asking his owners, “has Sacramento done enough” – not “what more can Seattle offer the league?”

Again – it’s morals over money.

It’s an ironic twist: David Stern has seemingly grown a heart. And the timing couldn’t be worse.

Because as a result, Seattle might be left without a team once again.

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