NBA Commissioner David Stern said Wednesday night that the group that
has reached agreement to purchase the Sacramento Kings has formally
filed to relocate the franchise to Seattle.
Stern spoke in Minneapolis before the Timberwolves
hosted San Antonio. He called the Seattle group, led by Chris Hansen and
Steve Ballmer, "very strong," and said the appropriate committees have
been convened to look over the proposed sale of the Kings and the
prospective move to Seattle.
"We have had submitted a signed agreement to have the team sold to a very strong group from Seattle," Stern said.
The deadline for teams to file for relocation is
March 1. It's been expected that the Hansen/Ballmer group would file to
move the team, but Stern's comments were the first time that decision
has been verified. The filing for relocation is ultimately a procedural
step, but a big one in the efforts to bring professional basketball back
Hansen's group reached agreement with the Maloof
family last month to buy 65 percent of the franchise, which is valued at
$525 million, and move the team to Seattle and restore the SuperSonics
name. The deal will cost the Hansen group a little more than $340
The Kings' sale price of $525 million would surpass the NBA record $450 million the Golden State Warriors sold for in 2010.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has been making
efforts to find investors with the financial means and could attempt to
match the sale price, keep the Kings in Sacramento and help on the
construction of a new arena in California's capital city.
Johnson said on Tuesday that he planned to attend
the NBA All-Star Game in Houston and lobby anyone he could on the merits
of keeping the Kings in Sacramento, but he has yet to reveal any of the
large equity investors he's attempting to pull together. Johnson said
Tuesday he hoped to be able to announce them next week.
Stern said Wednesday he didn't feel the situation
between Seattle and Sacramento would turn into 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.
The sale of the franchise requires just a majority
approval of the Board of Governors. The relocation of the franchise
would require a three-fourths majority.
"So I did the sensible thing, I combined the
committees and said, 'You guys figure it out.' We'll see how that
works," Stern said.
AP Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski contributed to this report.
Tuesday, November 21 2017 1:49 PM EST2017-11-21 18:49:31 GMT
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