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SBD/April 4, 2013/Franchises
NBA's Stern Says League Needs "More Data And Information" Before Deciding Fate Of Kings
Published April 4, 2013
SEATTLE'S PLEA: Stern, when asked if there was a "drop dead" date for a decision said, "There may be, but it isn't here yet." King County Exec Dow Constantine said, "If I was confident going in, I am even more confident, optimistic now." In Seattle, Bob Condotta in a front-page piece notes Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said that their role was to "assure the NBA there were no insurmountable hurdles in Seattle's arena plan." Constantine: "They really wanted to know about the things that traditionally have been the hardest to pin down, like the political will, for example. And we were able to convincingly, I think, answer those questions." Condotta notes NBA expansion "was not discussed during the Seattle presentation," and Stern said that it remains something the league "is not favoring." Constantine, when asked if he had a sense of the BOG's feelings, said, "They were playing it a little close to the vest. But you could tell that the owners liked a lot of what they heard about the financials, about the state of development of the proposal and I imagine they also put themselves in the shoes of the owners, the Maloofs, thinking 'How would I feel if I was in this position having an agreement with these guys to sell the team?'" (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/4). Seattle's KING-TV reporter Chris Daniels tweeted George Maloof was "very emotional," saying that Hansen would be a "good steward of the franchise."
NOT GOING ANYWHERE? Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said, "The NBA does not want to move a team from one market to another, period. ... They normally move a team from one market to another when the fans don't support it or you can't build a building. That's not the case in Sacramento." USA TODAY's Zillgitt & Amick note the Hansen-Ballmer group has "already given the Maloofs" a $30M, nonrefundable deposit. NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver said that the deposit "came with contingencies." Silver: "We're not going to speak to the specifics. And I tell you, it's two entirely different situations. Again, when the Seattle group put down the down payment, that was a contingent deal based on, of course, the ability to purchase and relocate the team. We're dealing with a different circumstance in terms of potential Sacramento buyers" (USA TODAY, 4/4). Stern said that the committee will "meet again" before the BOG meeting (AP, 4/3). In Sacramento, Ailene Voisin writes NBA execs "didn't quite expect this." Instead of gaining some "clarity in this two-city tango for one team, ... Stern and several of his owners went off to dinner Wednesday with an even bigger mess on their hands." The Sacramento group "completely mucked this up" for the NBA. The Sacramento contingent "transformed a once neat and tidy process into that mud-wrestling match, that arm-twisting duel, that backroom brawl." But they did "exactly what they needed to do." Voisin: "How does the NBA turn away from Sacramento now?" While NBA officials "want a franchise in Seattle, they continue to wince at the mere mention of relocation" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/4).
RUNNING THE POINT: SPORTS ON EARTH's Shaun Powell writes of Johnson, "Point guard, point man, does it make a difference? Kevin Johnson is all that. He has shown himself to be an All-Star at both, and because of his tireless efforts over the last few months, the betting money says the Kings aren’t going anywhere." If everything is "equal, then why would the NBA encourage a franchise relocation? For what reasons? On what basis?" The owners would be "hypocrites if they held open the door for the Kings and allowed them to leave Sacramento, even if a fair number of owners desperately want back in the Seattle market" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 4/4). TRUE HOOP's Henry Abbott wrote Hansen was "cagey when asked about right and wrong ways of getting an NBA team." One possible reason: Thunder Owner Clay Bennett, "who sneakily arranged the Sonics' departure, heads the NBA's relocation committee and is key to the NBA's decision-making" (ESPN.com, 4/3). The BEE's Voisin writes, "I think the league should devote an entire staff to dealing with arena issues that will continue to affect the NBA as long as franchises exist in 29 cities." Voisin: "Buildings get old. Owners go broke. It happens" (SACBEE.com, 4/4).