David Stern says King saga not resolved yet
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
HOUSTON – NBA Commissioner David Stern had plenty to say about the ongoing Sacramento-Seattle saga during his state of the union address on Saturday night at the Toyota Center.
He reiterated that Seattle’s agreement to buy the Kings and bring them to the Northwest was “strong,” said the Board of Governors would decide between their pitch and Sacramento’s at an April 18 meeting, and insisted that the toxic taste left in the NBA’s mouth when they left Seattle for Oklahoma City in 2008 would have no bearing on the current efforts to bring the league back.
But as Sacramento mayor and former NBA point guard Kevin Johnson saw it, nothing that transpired during his visit to Houston this weekend or that was said by Stern dimmed the continued confidence he has in his efforts to keep his hometown team.
“No, (the weekend) just increased (his confidence),” Johnson told USA TODAY Sports before heading to his seat in the arena. “I’m focused, and I’m confident. Everybody we talk to, they’re rooting for us – whether they’re in the league or not. I feel like we can control our own destiny.
“We put our ownership group forward. We build a new arena, and our market speaks for itself. Those are three very strong components, and I feel like you can stack those up against anybody.”
Johnson, who has spent the past three All-Star weekends making a pitch to keep the Kings in Sacramento, arrived at 6 a.m. on Friday morning and spent the next two days reminding anyone who would listen why his city’s market is a better fit for the league than Seattle. The Seattle group led by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and hedge fund manager Chris Hansen has an agreement in place to buy 65 percent of the Kings from the Maloof family for approximately $341 million (a valuation of $525 million).
But as was previously reported by USA TODAY Sports, Johnson has been finalizing an ownership group that would include supermarket mogul and part owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ron Burkle, and 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov. Johnson is expected … [For more on David Stern says King saga not resolved yet, click here.]