DALLAS (CBS13) – It’s official: The NBA Board of Governors has denied Seattle’s attempt to purchase the Sacramento Kings.
NBA owners met in Dallas Wednesday to make the decision Kings fans have anticipated for months — voting 22-8 to keep the team from moving to Seattle. This vote followed the delay of the board’s original expected vote in New York City in mid-April.
Sacramento lead investor, Vivek Ranadivé, represented the entire ownership group at the meeting. Mayor Kevin Johnson also traveled to Dallas for the meeting, and says he understands where the competition was coming from.
“If I was up in Seattle, I’d probably be fighting and clawing to do whatever was necessary as well,” he said. “They’re a great NBA city. We want them to get a team someday, just not our team.”
In late-April, the NBA Relocation Committee voted unanimously — 7-0 — to block Seattle’s bid to move the Kings to the Emerald City.
NBA Commissioner David Stern was firm stating the NBA Board of Governors’ vote against the move of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle was a vote affirming the incumbent team.
“This was not an anti-Seattle vote, it was a pro-Sacramento vote.” Stern said. “It’s a victory for Sacramento.”
During a press conference following the vote, Stern said the Maloofs have the right to retain ownership of the franchise, but expects they will sell to Ranadivé group.
“I anticipate they will come to be open,” he said, adding the league would appreciate a deal be done quickly to hold Mayor Kevin Johnson, a potential new ownership group, and the city of Sacramento to its promises.
Any possibility of selling the Kings to a group in Seattle led by investor Chris Hansen was ended with the vote.
“The agreement to sell to Seattle ended with the vote,” Stern said.
The Seattle investor group had been very aggressive in their attempt to buy the Kings, raising their already record-setting bid several times to $625 million. Hansen also said he would have paid a record $115 million relocation fee to the league if owners had voted to approve the sale.
Regardless, Johnson reiterated the NBA’s stance that a bidding war will not dictate the Kings’ future.
Also denied was the Maloofs last-minute announcement of a backup offer with Hansen. On Saturday, the current owners announced that they were unwilling to sell to Sacramento and would have instead sold 20 percent of the Kings to Hansen for $125 million, which would have allowed the Maloofs to continue operating the franchise.
When it came to moving the team to Seattle, Stern said the efforts of Johnson and the talks they had played a role in keeping the team in Sacramento.
Since the Sacramento group was able to assemble a deal involving the purchase of land for a new arena and putting more than $200 million in escrow toward the purchase of the team, Stern said the decision was easier for the board.
As far as finding a team for Seattle, whether it is expansion or otherwise, the governor said he and Commissioner-elect Adam Silver look forward to “continuing a dialogue of some sort.”
“We don’t have anything concrete,” Stern said. “It was nice to see two cities so interested in an NBA franchise, but the winner is Sacramento.”
Silver added, “We’ve never wavered in our desire to return to Seattle,” saying the league has continued to have strong support in the region.
The commissioner didn’t disclose which teams voted for or against the deal, but instead invited the press to ask each individual owner to share their vote.