Today David Stern said that Chris Hansen and his ownership group had filed for the relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle. This occurred in Minnesota today, and was reported on by USA News. Another thing that became immediately clear from the article is that Stern likes the Hansen’s ownership group.
“We have had submitted a signed agreement to have the team sold to a very strong group from Seattle,” Stern said. “We have received an application to have the team moved from Sacramento to Seattle.”-USANews
Hansen technically doesn’t own the Kings yet (it still has to be approved by the Board of Governors), but he is still lining up his problems and knocking them down. By already filing for relocation, Hansen has put everything on the table for the Board of Governors meeting on April.
But that meeting is also significant because it is also Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s opportunity to present a counter offer. He’s got an NBA approved Arena Plan in his back pocket and a couple of large equity investors (Mastrov and Burkle). Johnson also has a pretty good case that the Maloofs are operating in such a way as to spite the City of Sacramento. Here’s what Stern had to say about this;
“My guess is it’s likely that the mayor of Sacramento will appear before the board with an alternate plan,” Stern said. “And that’s why we have a board of governors, to make difficult decisions like this one.”
Stern said he didn’t feel the situation between Seattle and Sacramento would turn into a battle to see who can make the most lucrative bid.
“I don’t think it’s a bidding war,” Stern continued. “There’s a series of issues that are defined by our constitution that have to be considered. One of the things that 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 the buildings, about the likelihood they will be built, about the support from the cities.”
Two committees would typically vet both the proposed sale and the move of the franchise to Seattle, but Stern said he has combined the committees into one. The committee will report to the Board of Governors, which is expected to vote on both the sale and the proposed move at its meeting in mid-April.-USANews
It’s pretty hard to read what Stern is thinking; after all, he’s been pretty good at covering his tracks and keeping his thoughts out of the public view. But what I’m feeling is that Kevin Johnson is going to get an honest chance at pitching his point to the BOG, that it’s not for show. What does that mean for the Kings’s future in Sacramento?
My heart says that the Maloofs’s idiocy and back stabbing has made it a political suicide for the team to depart Sacramento. But my brain says that it’s going to be hard for Johnson to make Sacramento look more appealing than Seattle from a money perspective; especially sense the Kings are currently receiving revenue and the new Sonics could easily start an Regional Sports Network and immediately start earning revenue.