Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

May 16, 2013

NBA owners reject Sacramento Kings’ move to Seattle

DALLAS — Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson flashed a few smiles when his bid to save the city’s NBA franchise finally succeeded. Just not too many.

The former All-Star guard didn’t want to celebrate at the expense of Seattle after league owners voted Wednesday to reject, once and for all, an aggressive bid to move the Sacramento Kings.

“I went to Seattle,” said Johnson, who spent all but the first 52 games of his 12-year career with the Phoenix Suns. “I played against those fans in that community. It’s a great sports town, it’s a great basketball community. And for them to come up a little short, especially with what happened in 2008 to have lost their team, that’s devastating. That’s why we fought so hard.”

NBA owners decided to follow the recommendation of their relocation committee, and Commissioner David Stern promptly announced that he hoped to have a deal in place in 48 hours with a group that wants to buy the team from the Maloof brothers.

“And now we think that because the Maloofs have overall been very good for Sacramento and the Kings and the NBA, that they will be motivated to do something fast so that the franchise can get cracking,” Stern said.

The 22-8 vote by the Board of Governors rejected a deal that would have sold a 65 percent controlling interest at a total franchise valuation of $625 million to a Seattle group led by investor Chris Hansen, who boosted the offer twice after the NBA showed an unwillingness to relocate.

Now the Maloofs will try to complete a deal at Hansen’s original price of $525 million — still topping the NBA record of $450 million — with a group put together by Johnson and fronted by TIBCO software chairman Vivek Ranadive. The plan includes a new downtown arena.

“I think that once Sacramento got engaged in doing this and being able to deliver on the promise, which didn’t really exist when the original deal was made in Seattle, that the principal advantage to the incumbent was going to prevail,” Stern said. “Nobody had any doubt that the same or similar thing could happen in Seattle. It was just, do you give the edge to a city that has a 28-year history of support?”

The vote ended an emotional saga that has dragged on for nearly three years. Hansen wanted to move the franchise and rename it the SuperSonics, who left Seattle for Oklahoma City in 2008 and were renamed the Thunder.

Hansen said in a statement posted on his website that he hoped to pursue a minority ownership role with the Maloofs, but Ranadive said his partners “haven’t really considered” the Maloofs maintaining a stake in the franchise.

Stern praised Hansen’s proposal and said the NBA might consider expansion once a new TV deal is in place, but said “we don’t have anything concrete.”

“Our day will come, and when it does, it will just be that much sweeter for the struggle,” Hansen said.

It’s the second time since 2011 that the Maloof brothers have made plans that would have ended in relocation for the Kings. The first target was Anaheim, Calif., but Johnson convinced the NBA to give the city another chance to finance a new arena.

Johnson delivered on a promise for a plan for a new downtown arena with help from Stern, but the Maloofs backed out, saying it didn’t make financial sense.

The Maloofs had another surprise when they announced a deal in January with Hansen’s group, which includes Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and members of the Nordstrom department store family.

Johnson fought back again, this time lining up an ownership group led by Ranadive and getting the Sacramento City Council to approve a non-binding financing plan for a $447 million arena with a $258 million public subsidy.

“This is an ownership group that’s played to win and kept us in the game, and put us in a situation where ultimately over the next couple days, if things go right, we can close this out and move to a new chapter in Sacramento,” Johnson said.

In a letter sent to the relocation and finance committees during its April 17 meeting, the Maloofs said they preferred to sell to the Seattle group and expressed discontent with Sacramento’s bid, saying it fell “significantly short.”

After Wednesday’s vote, however, George Maloof denied that his family wasn’t willing to sell to the Ranadive group and that the league was pressuring them to do so.

“It’s been a fair process, a very fair process,” Maloof said.

Hansen spent nearly two years working to get an arena plan approved by the city and county governments and spent more than $65 million buying land in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood where the arena would be built. Hansen has a five-year memorandum of understanding with the city and county on the arena plan.

A small crowd at a Seattle restaurant was subdued as word spread that the franchise wasn’t coming, while horns blared and cheers erupted from bars in Sacramento.

“In Kevin Johnson we trust,” said season-ticket holder Jim Amen, who wore the jersey of No. 16 Peja Stojakovic, the Kings’ first-round draft pick in 1996. “This meant a lot to our city. It’s not just about basketball, but about revitalizing our downtown.”

About a dozen Sacramento supporters wearing Kings jerseys and “Small Market Big Heart” T-shirts waited most of the day in the Dallas hotel to hear what turned out to be good news. Not so for a handful of fans in green and gold hoping for the return of the Sonics.

“It’s been a roller coaster for both cities, but we’ve never looked at this as a competition between Seattle and Sacramento,” Johnson said. “We thought this was about what we needed to do to keep our team in Sacramento. We’d take a back seat to no city when it comes to the way we support our team.”

Now they have the backing of NBA owners.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • ropin-make-a-wish.jpg Dirteater, others help Make-A-Wish

    The event will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Tickets are $5, with kids 6 and under free.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Photo-for-Shinn-story.jpg Coaches preview Sooners season

    Toby Rowland addressed the elephant in the room even before Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel arrived at Journey Church on Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Date set for Keys football physicals

    Before scheduled practices can begin in order to prepare for the season, players must first receive a physical.
    Next Tuesday, Aug. 5, Keys High School will be administering physicals in the high school cafeteria.

    July 31, 2014

  • Keys-Dakota.jpg Playing both sides of the line

    Recently, Keys High School football standout Dakota Matlock was nearly severely injured in a terrifying car wreck.

    Matlock is coming off a stellar gridiron season for Keys High School. On offense, Matlock ran for over 1,000 yards for the Cougars. In his sophomore season, Matlock led Keys in tackles from the safety position.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bassmaster.jpg Crossing, and fishing, the Delaware

    Bassmaster Elite Series anglers to compete Aug. 7

    BASS has fished out of some legendary venues over the years (including Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans), but never Philadelphia, which is host of the Bassmaster Elite at Delaware River, Aug. 7-10, 2014.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mison.jpg Mixon’s attorney says incident with woman self-defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon says the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hooper.jpg Sparking the flame

    Sequoyah High School’s Justin Hooper looking to lead this year

    Last season was Justin’s last chance to play alongside Cody at Sequoyah High School.
    Justin had to battle to win the Indians starting tailback. The coaching staff did not know who was going to be the Indians starting running back coming into fall practice.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NSU-fishing-team.jpg NSU teams compete in fishing tournament

    Three teams from Northeastern State University’s Bass Fishing Team competed in the Fishing League Worldwide College Fishing Tournament on Grand Lake in Grove on Saturday, June 21.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Johnson, East win easily at All-State

    Jake Johnson was able to hold off Lawton MacArthur’s Trent Meisel at the Class 5A state tournament in May. On Monday at the All-State tournament at Cherokee Hills Golf Club, Johnson had it much easier against Meisel.

    July 29, 2014

  • McMillan-blackboard.jpg Hometown brothers team up for RiverHawks football

    Northeastern State’s football program will include a pair of hometown brothers for the 2014 season.
    Mason McMillan returns for his sophomore season, and this year he will be reunited with his younger brother, Kourtland. The brothers graduated from Tahlequah High School – Mason in 2013, followed by Kourtland in 2014. At Tahlequah, Mason and Kourtland shared the gridiron for one season.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Stocks