Kings reach agreement with Seattle group
by USA TODAY Sports, USA TODAY
The Sacramento Kings appear headed to Seattle.
ESPN and The Sacramento Bee reported Sunday night the Maloof family, which owns the Kings, has come to a purchase agreement with a group spearheaded by billionaire Chris Hansen, which would move the team to Seattle. The agreement now requires league approval.
This is a major step in moving the team from Sacramento, which received some hope from Mayor Kevin Johnson’s dedicated pursuit of ways to keep the team in town under local ownership.
The deadline for teams to apply for a move is March 1, though it has been extended in the past for the Kings.
NBA Commissioner David Stern told news reporters in London last week the league had not received a purchase agreement. But Stern kept open the door for Johnson to make his case directly to the league.
“The Mayor of Sacramento has asked me, ‘Well, if this comes to pass because we’ve been reading it in the newspapers — and he knows that anything he reads in the newspapers is likely to be accurate — could I come in and address the board of governors or the relocation committee?’ ” Stern said Thursday. “And I said, ‘Always.’ … Communities have supported us, and many that haven’t, but Sacramento has been particularly supportive (and) are always welcome to present. The mayor has been in before (in April of 2011 during the Anaheim chapter). That’s it, other than the speculation of what’s going on.”
Stern and the NBA, alongside major sports business power Anschultz Entertainment Group, helped form Johnson’s plan to keep the team in Sacramento. But Seattle’s bid captured the Maloofs’ interest, and the sides now have reached an agreement.
Seattle had its own NBA heartbreak when the Seattle SuperSonics left town to become the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008. Hansen has advocated for renaming a new Seattle team the SuperSonics to continue the city’s tradition.