The NBA relocation/finance committee voted unanimously Monday to not relocate the Kings from Sacramento, dealing a serious blow to Chris Hansen’s attempt to bring the Sonics back to Seattle, according to the NBA.
The committee’s vote was a recommendation to the 30-member Board of Governors, who must wait a minimum of seven business days before the relocation recommendation is voted upon. But the widespread belief is that the board will accept the recommendation of the committee, which met by teleconference for two hours. It was not known whether the time between the committee’s decision and the BOG vote will allow further negotiation.
The committee was not charged with considering expansion, but NBA commissioner David Stern has said that expansion had not been discussed “right now.”
Relocation has always been a solution of last resort for the NBA. The Kings’ incumbency in Sacramento, coupled with a frenetic three-month bid led by Mayor Kevin Johnson to assemble an ownership group as well as a plan for a new downtown arena, apparently were more influential than the record $550 million bid from Hansen and Steve Ballmer to buy the Kings from the Maloof family.
The Maloofs strongly lobbied for acceptance, but the NBA voted first on relocation, eliminating procedurally the need to invalidate the sale agreement.
Said Stern several weeks ago: “I don’t see any scenario where both cities are happy.”