BY SPNW Staff 05:09PM 05/07/2013

Mayor KJ tells Hansen/Ballmer to back off

Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson has taken to advising Chris Hansen, saying that since the Kings are staying, he would help Seattle’s chances by knocking off his plotting.

Kevin Johnson has some advice for Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer. / City of Sacramento

So now it gets chippy.

Mayor Kevin Johnson, sensing the end of the fight, told reporters in Sacramento Wednesday that he’s advising Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, who apparently are still plotting intrigues, to — as it is so colorfully expressed in Irish pubs — bugger off.

The mayor said that the Seattle bidders, who were hit last week with a 7-0 vote against their plan to relocate the Kings to Seattle, should “take the high road” and be gracious.

“Once the relocation committee spoke as loud and as clear as it did, I would probably take a step back and understand that I’m probably not going to get this team. So how can I put Seattle in the best possible position to get a team moving forward?” the mayor said, speaking as if he were the loser.

Continuing to flap gums, he said,  “In some respect, you’re poaching. You’re taking somebody else’s team.”

While some reports have suggested Hansen could still move forward with buying the Kings and keep them in Sacramento, Johnson said, “It’s not a scenario that we’re planning for.”

Johnson and Hansen are expected to be in Dallas next week, when the NBA Board of Governors is expected to take a final vote May 15 on whether to accept the relocation committee’s recommendation to deny the move.

Unclear yet is whether a second vote will take place to formally deny the sale of the team from the Maloof family to Hansen, or let the relocation vote stand on its own and presume the Maloofs will accept the Sacramento bidders’ backup offer, led by Golden State Warriors minority owner Vivek Ranadive.

“I’m sure there are 101 things that could go wrong or slow things up, but we’re all very hopeful that coming out of May 15, there will be a final decision,” the mayor said. Johnson said he was not fearful that the decision could be delayed, but that “there are just things that come up.

“I think we’re all on pins and needles waiting for the final decision. I’m confident and I expect that we will win and we will be able to keep our team in Sacramento. With that said, we are not gloating, we’re not over confident.”


  • jafabian

    I’m wondering if someone told KJ to say all that? Either Stern or someone in the Sacramento bidding group? It wasn’t that long ago he said that he expected the Hansen group to continue their efforts and understood that. And doesn’t he see the parallels on this situation and when the Sonics moved? Or when the Kings were purchased and moved out of Kansas City? The city of Sacramento does not own the Kings so he really can’t say that the Kings are “their team.” Or is KJ feeling the heat and possibly has learned that NBA owners don’t support keeping the team in Sacramento?

    Initially I’ve been lukewarm at bringing the NBA back to Seattle even though I bleed Sonic green. However the NBA’s efforts to stymie Hansen and comments like this from KJ only make me want success for his efforts to restore the Sonics and their legacy.

  • Michael Kaiser

    “So now it gets chippy.” Ya, up to know it was just Sacramento against those angels from Seattle. And Hanson and company did not even have the class, or smarts, to buy the team and at least put on the pretense of allowing Sacramento to see if it could come up with a new arena. Maybe Hansen and Balmer need to bring some Oakies up here to teach them a few basics of Relocation 101. We are starting to even make the Oakies look like lower-Manhattan pros. KevIn Johnson is right. If Hansen and Seattle want a prayer of EVER getting a team, they better back off. Also would not want to see a charge put forth of tortious interference. LOL. And, yes, it would also be classy to back off at this point. Furthermore, on a straight power equation analysis, the only way Hansen and Company walk away with any sort of power after the way they were punked is if, yes indeed, they walk away and make it look like they made the decision willingly. At this point they are running the risk of losing everyone’s respect as well.

    • Tim

      Yeah, because going quietly and playing Seattle nice and polite per the directives of David Stern in 2008 had won back his respect and gotten us back in the game until that scumbag Chris Hansen had the nerve to buy an NBA team and try to move it here. Follow Greg Nickels’ example and concede everything in order to build up good NBA karma. 30 mil on the table? Chump change. Leave it there and consider it a down payment for even more future respect on the part of the owners. Besides, who needs leverage in any sort of business deal anyway? If we keep playing nice, I just know that one day we’re going wake up and find that expansion team under our Christmas tree

      “Enjoy good people of Sacramento, and don’t spend it all in one place. Enjoy that Kings team you poached from Kansas City.”

  • 1coolguy

    Good for KJ – It IS time for Hansen to fold his tent and wait for a team that is PREAPPROVED by the NBA to buy and move.

  • 1coolguy

    Also, for all those who think the Kings should come to Seattle, why do the same thing to Sac that Bennett did to Seattle? That is NOT the way to bring a team to town.
    If you want to dump on someone, it’s Schultz and Walker who you should focus on, no one else. They are the local scumbags who sold us out, no one else.
    Schultz is richer than rich and could have kept the Sonics for many years until the RIGHT buyer was found. Let’s remember Ballmer didn’t want to buy the Sonics at that time either, so it was a pretty shallow local pool.
    So Howard and Wally are the punks here, not KJ or the Sacramento group.

    • Effzee

      Far be it from me to be moderately fair to Wally, but he was against selling the team to Clay-clay. Now, Wally was the one solely responsible for killing fan interest by running the team into the ground, then driving a steamroller over it, before spreading the ground he drove it into with nuclear-grade poison, so you can totally blame him for that. I am just trying to make a distinction here in exactly where the blame lies. Cheers!

  • notaboomer

    wwbgd? what would bill gates do? SUE!!!

  • zigzags

    KJ tells Hansen to back off. That’s cute. Maybe KJ should stop flapping his lips like this is a done deal. The fact that Sacramento had to grease the palms of the owners shows that their deal isn’t as rock solid as Seattle’s. I could see Hansen going forward with the purchase even if he’s forced to keep the team there, wait for their arena deal to fall apart (have they even purchased land yet? how do they pay for cost overruns?), and then reapply for relocation.

    • jafabian

      The NFL denied the Colts moving from Baltimore to Indianapolis. They did it anyways. The NFL survived. That’s why KJ doesn’t want Hansen to go thru with the purchase.

  • Kafkaeske

    Seattle may get a team someday, but we’re not going to get THIS team. Hansen can buy the Kings, but the NBA will not allow them to move. Maybe it would be prudent to wait until May 15, just in case something weird happens, but Hansen & Co. should give up on the Kings. They needn’t be “sorry” for trying to “steal” the Kings. Unlike the OKC carpetbaggers, they were honest about their intentions and played by the rules. When the NBA expands, which it eventually will, Seattle will get a team.

  • Wyatt Stakwyatt

    I’m still not attending games if Hansen gets the franchise if the contract does not call for the Stern Exclusion, a 1000 mile radius between Stern and the good city of Seattle.

    Wyatt Stakwyatt