Sacramento Kings on verge of becoming Sonics
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
The Emerald City is on the verge of going green again.
Nearly five years after the Seattle SuperSonics became the Oklahoma City Thunder and the jewel of a city in the Northwest lost the NBA franchise that had been there since 1967, it appears the Sacramento Kings will be recycled there.
Yet after a deal was finalized over the weekend between the Maloof family that owns the Kings and the Seattle group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and the Nordstrom family, the next question is whether anything can stand in the way of the Sonics’ return.
A quick look at the process from here.
• Three people with knowledge of the situation confirmed that the Hansen-Ballmer group agreed to buy 65 percent of the team based on a league-record valuation of $525 million, meaning their price paid is approximately $341 million. While the Seattle group is expected to file for relocation by the NBA’s March 1 deadline so that the Sonics would return for the 2013-14 campaign, the deal must still be considered by the NBA’s relocation committee and approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors.
It’s unclear what the sequence of events will be, as relocation is unlikely to be approved before the sale is formalized. Stern could grant an extension on the relocation deadline if necessary as a way of allowing more time to have the Board review the proposed sale. It’s unknown at this time whether the review and likely approval would be at the Board’s annual mid-April meeting or at another earlier time.
Considering the deep pockets of the Hansen-Ballmer group and the fact that Seattle is, according to Arbitron, the 13th largest media market in the country and Sacramento is 27th, the overwhelming sentiment around the league is that the move would be approved. Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof, on behalf of the Maloof family, said in a statement: “We have always appreciated and treasured our ownership of the Kings and have had a great admiration for the fans and our team members. We would also like thank Chris Hansen for his … [For more on Sacramento Kings on verge of becoming Sonics, click here.]