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The latest news about the NBA's possible return to Seattle.

February 14, 2013 at 12:30 PM

NBA commissioner David Stern reiterates expansion unlikely

NBA commissioner David Stern reiterated this week his recent stance that expansion is unlikely, appearing to again put cold water on any hopes that both Seattle and Sacramento could end up with teams resulting from their current battle for the Kings.

“I don’t think (expansion) is an option,” Stern said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle in advance of the NBA All-Star Game festivities in that city this weekend.

You can read a review of what Stern said and how it may impact the current situation with Seattle and Sacramento in this blog post on NBA.com.

As Seattle and Sacramento have begun  to battle over the Kings, many observers have wondered if expansion might not be a clean way out for the NBA to satisfy both cities. Stern, though, has said consistently in recent years that the league is not interested in expanding, and said so again in the Chronicle interview. As noted in the NBA.com piece, the argument against expansion is more about finances than anything else in adding one more team that would cut into the various pools of money shared  by all franchises.

Stern also notes that there is not as of yet an approved arena plan in Seattle and that while there is a “very good potential ownership group” that there remains “a lot of work to be done” on the arena. He also says that while the idea of an NBA team returning to Seattle is a good one, the idea of the NBA leaving Sacramento is “not a good one” in basically attempting not to tip his hand in either direction.

Expect to hear a lot more on this topic over the weekend as one of the highlights of the All-Star Game is Stern’s annual Saturday press conference, which serves as something of a state of the union on the league.

Also, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson plans to arrive in Houston on Friday to lobby NBA owners and others associated with the league on the city’s efforts to keep the team (here’s an overview of Johnson’s plans from CBSSports.com — it’s in the second item).

Johnson has yet to publicly announce the identities of an ownership group or the details of Sacramento’s arena plan. But he is likely to share some of those details with NBA owners and officials at the All-Star Game. Johnson is attempting to put together an ownership group that would make a counteroffer to keep the Kings in Sacramento. The current controlling owners of the team, the Maloof family, announced last month they  had reached an agreement to sell  the team to a Seattle group led by Chris Hansen.

“The Seattle people would like you to believe that the deal is done,” he said earlier this week. “The deal is not done in Seattle and we would like to get that message out there. …That will  be our message for Seattle in Houston.”

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