BY Art Thiel 04:14PM 05/15/2013

No expansion for Seattle; Hansen still fighting

The Kings will stay in Sacramento, according the NBA Board of Governors, which met in Dallas Wednesday and voted 22-8 in favor of accepting the relocation committee’s earlier reported 7-0 recommendation. But Chris Hansen still says he wants to be the 20 percent partner of Maloof family that has not agreed to sell to anyone but Hansen.

“The edge went to the incumbent,” Commissioner David Stern said at a post-meeting press conference. “We don’t have anything concrete to support an NBA franchise in Seattle at this time.

“It is my expectation that we will make a deal between the Maloofs and and (Vivek) Ranadive group. It’s not a certainty. But (we want it done) just as soon as possible.”

Regarding the possibility of creating an expansion team for Seattle, Stern said, “There was generalized talk that it would be good in the future to expand. But that will be for (Adam Silver, commissioner-elect) and awaits television contract negotiations, which will begin soon.”

Asked what commitments were made to Seattle, Stern said. “Just our promise of fair dealing and ultimate consideration on our part.”

However, Hansen indicated on his website Wednesday afternoon that he has not given up on his proposal made Saturday to become a 20 percent partner of the Maloofs for $115 million. That would provide the cash for the Maloofs to continue to operate, but would fly in the face of the NBA’s agenda to be done with the Maloofs.

Wrote Hansen on

While we are obviously extremely disappointed with today’s relocation vote and truly believe we put forth both a significantly better offer and Arena plan, we do thank the league and the owners for their time and consideration and look forward to hearing back on our agreement to join the Maloofs as limited partners in the Kings.

But most of all I would like to thank everyone in Seattle who has been a part of our effort and supported our cause. Words simply can’t express how much your support has meant to me personally and to our City. I truly believe we did everything possible to put our best foot forward in this process and you all should be proud and hold your heads high today.

Our day will come…and when it does it will just be that much sweeter for the struggle.

I love you Seattle!

There was no vote taken Wednesday on the sale, but Stern said the sale agreement between the Seattle group and the Maloofs “ended effectively with the relocation vote.” Hansen’s application to be a minority owner is subject to approval by the NBA, which seems unlikely to invite trouble with Hansen’s Seattle agenda complicating Sacramento’s pursuit of an arena.

Regarding Hansen’s original pitch, he said Seattle did nothing wrong as much as Sacramento did everything right.

“Once Sacramento got engaged in doing this, they delivered on the promise. The principle of advantage to the incumbent was going to prevail, looking back. Nobody thought the property was going to be acquired or all the money would be put into escrow.

“So kudos to Ranadive and all of the owners.”

There was no immediate response from the Seattle bidders.

Seattle was represented by Hansen and Wally Walker, along with the Maloof brothers, owners of the Kings. Steve Ballmer remained in Seattle at his day job with Microsoft, where he was hosting a conference of CEOs.

Both sides made separate presentations to 29 owners’ reps, and the Maloof brothers were summoned in for their own briefing as the owners took a break.

The vote broke a logjam that had been building since Hansen signed in January a purchase and sale agreement with the Maloofs that took both cities and the NBA by surprise, since the Maloofs said repeatedly the franchise was not for sale.

While Seattle partied on the presumption of relocation, Sacramento, directed by Commissioner David Stern and led by Mayor Kevin Johnson, mounted a furious comeback. Johnson rounded up several wealthy California investors and hammered out an arena plan for a downtown location and a term sheet that was passed by Sacramento’s city council.

Hansen countered with increases of $25 million and then $75 million. Stern said Wednesday’s vote was based on the $625 million figure.


  • maoling

    Stern said he had a game to get to in OKC. I despise that guy. So let’s see, binding sale agreement, best bid, fully financed with the land purchased and arena plan in place. And the NBA gives Sac-town an extra month to up its bid while Sterno helps them.
    Just wow. Again.
    Art, do you put any stock in the Anti-trust angle? I don’t see how the NBA can force the Maloofs to take tens of million dollars less in selling their team.

  • Joe Fan

    Art, I heard Stern say the vote was based on the amended bid of $625 million. Be that as it may, where do we go from here?

    Is it just me, or is Stern Seattle’s “villain” of the ages? I find him to almost be unbearable to listen to in terms of his slow, measured delivery in his speaking voice, and when I hear him talk I just feel he is completely full of it. ARRRGGHHH!!!

    • Steve Rudman

      You heard correctly. We checked the transcript from the press conference and made the change. Thanks!

    • jafabian

      Stern has jumped ahead of Clay Bennett and Howard Schultz in the Seattle Sports Nemesis category. Not sure if he’s passed A-Rod though.

      • No Stern is public enemy no 1 with a bullet

        • Kafkaeske

          No way! The ultimate villain in this entire drama is Howard Schultz. If he hadn’t tried to force the taxpayers to build a new arena for him, and hadn’t sold the team to the OKC mafia, who were obviously going to take it away from Seattle (the only question being how long it would take), none of this would ever have happened. Stern’s responsibility is to the NBA owners, not to the fans. Schultz betrayed his obligation to the fans in Seattle and cannot ever be forgiven for it.

  • Will

    If this decision surprises you then you probably believe Vegas house odds favor the bettors.

  • Joe Fan

    Be careful what you wish for Sacramento. Now you have to live with
    keeping all your promises to the new ownership group and to the NBA with
    respect to building a new arena and revenue sharing. Good luck
    acquiring all that land you’ll need for the new arena, that will be
    fun! Good luck weaving your way through the various lawsuits and
    referendums – sounds expensive and time consuming. Owning an NBA team
    is not cheap. Good thing your tax base are wealthy and giving folks –
    they will be more than happy to pony up the funds necessary to keep the
    NBA and ownership group happy as a clam!!

  • Leon Russell

    “Stern said Wednesday’s vote was based on the $625 million figure.”

    I am pretty sure I heard Stern say the vote was based on the original $525 million offer, not the $625 million figure.
    Just as a lot of us suspected, it appears that Hansen’s “binding” agreement was contingent on the NBA voting to approve relocation. So, once the NBA denied relocation that agreement between the Maloofs and Hansen was no longer in effect. So, there was no need to vote on it. If that was indeed written into the signed agreement, then I don’t see how anyone would have any grounds for a lawsuit. Certainly, Stern did not seem concerned whatsoever about getting sued, or anything else.
    The most telling thing to me was Stern’s huge smile just after the press conference ended. He looked like the cat that ate the canary. Stern wins again.

  • whidbeytom

    Maybe Hansen and Balmer will buy the Mariners

    • 1coolguy

      This is the BEST post I have seen in a long time!
      This is a GREAT idea – anything to get Lincoln and Armstrong OUT!!!

  • Leon Russell

    Did anyone say anything about Hansen’s “nonrefundable” $30 million deposit? That is going to be interesting. As I read it, the Maloofs are now under no obligation to refund that deposit to Hansen. Wonder what will happen to that $30 million.

  • jafabian

    Last I knew the Kings are a FRANCHISE. If I buy a McDonald’s franchise, McDonald’s will not tell me where I can and cannot place it. I have to agree to support McDonald’s products. I don’t see how this situation is any different.

    I’m frustrated as a Sonics fan at the inconsistencies and contradictions that the NBA offers up in all this. They state that there’s nothing concrete in favor of Seattle even when there’s a pending lawsuit on the legality of the Sacramento bid’s funding. The Sacramento bid was put together by Sterno as much as it was by KJ and only in the past month. Hansen’s group has been solid on its own and their bid is clean and strong.

    Sterno promises “fair dealing and ultimate considering on our part.” How can you trust that statement when he’s the one who put together the Sacramento bid? When he told them thru the media that they needed to increase their funding to match Hansen’s bid? If that isn’t collusion I don’t know what is.

    The NBA should consider that down the road the courts could decide that the Sacramento bid’s funding was illegal, KJ could not be re-elected and an I-91 type of initiative could pass by the Sacramento Taxpayers Association. Don’t understand why expansion can’t be considered after a new TV deal is put together. Wouldn’t you want to be able to include the Seattle market in your revenue projections?

    Interestingly, Nate McMillan interviewed with the Atlanta Hawks today.

  • 1coolguy

    Hansen had good intensions, yet he had the cart before the horse.
    He should have made his land and team purchase deals contingent on the move.
    He should have received NBA PRE-APPROVAL for the move, which would have been a much more streamlined process then gone forward.
    And even though Ballmer has the money he does, I suggest since he’s known to be overly “pushy” that he’s probably not a good person to be a front man, whereas Hansen seemed to be.
    In the end though, it strains credulity and logic why Hansen would ever have WALLY WALKER involved in this group, as he made a complete mess of the Sonics as GM. All Hansen needed to do on this one was to look at: 1. Wally’s miserable draft choices 2. The Sonics horrible record during his years.
    One thing about Bennett is he and his management turned around the Sonics/Thunder in 2-3 seasons, proving how miserable and clueless Walker was.

  • 1coolguy

    jafabian –
    You’re all wrong on this one: McDonalds finds the locations and if you want to be a franchisee, those locations are where the store will be.