Update: Thursday, 12:34 pm
Last night, it was reported that the Seattle-based investment group led by Chris Hansen had filed paperwork to relocate the Sacramento Kings to Seattle. Reports today state that the Maloofs, not the Hansen-Ballmer group, filed for relocation. From the Sacramento Bee:
A source with knowledge of the situation said the Maloofs filed the petition sometime in the past week on behalf of the Hansen-Ballmer group.
WATCH: David Stern addresses Seattle/Sacramento situation prior to Timberwolves/Spurs game (via KING5 in Seattle)
Stern’s quotes in their entirety courtesy of Zach Harper, CBS Sports Eye On Basketball
Stern on latest in Seattle/Sacramento saga:
“The latest with the Seattle-Sacramento situation is that we’ve had submitted a signed agreement for the team to be sold to a very strong group from Seattle, we have received an application to have the team moved from Sacramento to Seattle, I have convened the appropriate committees and told them as we get more information and more data, we will be sending the information to them because they will have to be making a recommendation to the board, which will likely decide the issue — both as the sale and move in April at our board meeting. And the mayor of Sacramento has advised that he will be back to us soon with a proposal from a group to buy the team in Sacramento and build a building in Sacramento with a substantial subsidy from the city of Sacramento.
And so we’re biding events. The Seattle application is to play in Key Arena, which would be there probably for two years, possibly three. There is no final approval with respect to a new building in Seattle but events are well underway, moving in that direction. So they don’t currently have a building but they propose to improve Key as a temporary facility while one is being built. And my guess is it’s likely the mayor of Sacramento will appear before the Board with an alternate play. And that’s why we have a Board of Governors. To make the decision.”
On likelihood of team staying and if this is turning into a bidding war between Seattle and Sacramento:
“No, I don’t think it’s a bidding war. There’s a series of issues that are defined by our constitution that have to be considered. And one of the things our board is mandated to consider is the support for the team in the prior city. So there are real issues for the board to consider about buildings, about the likelihood they’ll be built, there’s a… there’s a… I think I might have composed the standards but sitting here today I can’t remember what they are. But there are a lot of them and actually to confuse it just a little bit, the application to transfer ownership requires a three-quarter vote and the application to move requires a majority vote and so I did the sensible thing; I combined the two committees and said you guys figure it out. And we’ll see how that works.”
It was widely expected that the Kings would file for relocation, although the decision has come sooner rather than later. The NBA’s relocation deadline is less than four weeks away on March 1st. The Hansen/Ballmer group has an agreement in place to purchase 65 percent of controlling interest in the Kings. The franchise is valued at $525 million, making the final sale price just around $340 million for the Seattle owners.
Meanwhile in Sacramento, mayor Kevin Johnson is still putting together his counterproposal to keep the Kings in the capital city. The next step for Johnson is to hammer down the city’s major equity partners, which the mayor is hoping to announce some time this week or next.