You are currently viewing all posts written by Bob Condotta.
May 20, 2013 at 3:47 PM
Chris Hansen, who led the attempt to buy the Sacramento Kings and relocate them to Seattle, had been silent since releasing a short statement Wednesday after the NBA voted against allowing the Kings to move.
Today, though, Hansen released another statement through his sonicsarena.com website in which he said he will “press forward” with the effort to return the NBA to Seattle.
Here is that statement:
I’d like to start out by congratulating Mayor Johnson and the fans in Sacramento for the tremendous effort they put together to keep their team. Given what our community went through in 2008, if there is any silver lining in this for Seattle it is seeing Sacramento’s dedicated fan base successfully rally to keep the Kings. This was never about Seattle fans versus Sacramento fans, and it goes unsaid that there is a mutual respect given the circumstances we have both been through. This process was instead about our group and our city putting our best foot forward in an honest and transparent way to return basketball to Seattle, and in that regard our efforts remain undeterred.
When we began our efforts in 2011, we went into it knowing that above all else it would take patience. The process involved in getting an Arena built in our city is without question a difficult and time consuming one. Likewise, with the prospects for expansion unclear, the path for returning an NBA franchise to Seattle was likely to prove even more difficult and require even more patience. Thus, even as we are disappointed with the developments related to our efforts to purchase the Kings, we would just like to reiterate our dedication to bringing the NBA back to Seattle. We will continue to press forward with our Arena plans with the same commitment and effort we have over the last two years, and look forward to working with the City and County to see the project through the hurdles that remain. Likewise, we plan to continue to work with the League regarding opportunities that may arise to return an NBA franchise to our City.
I would like to again thank everyone who helped us get to this point. To Mayor Mike McGinn and County Executive Dow Constantine and their incredible staffs for their leadership in getting our Arena proposal off the ground and seeing it through to this point. To the City and County Councilmembers for taking so much time and effort to vet our proposal and work with us to come up with solutions that made the deal work for their constituents. To our Arena Business Advisory Committee for all their help in rallying political and community support. And to our entire legal and professional team for the countless hours and dedication they put into this process.
But most of all I would like to thank all of the fans and community groups that rallied behind our efforts. You have shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that Seattle has great fans and deserves to have an NBA team back. Keep the Green and Gold alive… and just know that we remain as dedicated as ever to seeing Sonics Basketball return to the Emerald City.
May 17, 2013 at 10:26 AM
Chris Mannix of SI.com is reporting today that the NBA offered the Seattle ownership group to pay back the $30 million deposit it gave to the Maloof family, but has declined:
League sources say owners offered to pay Hansen-Ballmer group the $30 million non-refundable deposit they paid the Maloofs. They declined
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 17, 2013
It’s unclear why the Seattle group would turn down the money.
Also today, the Sacramento Bee is reporting that the deal to sell the team to a Sacramento group has been signed.
May 16, 2013 at 8:28 PM
Here’s tonight’s Seattle Times poll, asking readers who is most responsible for Seattle not having an NBA team:
May 15, 2013 at 7:20 PM
Here’s some rough video of Sacramento Kings owner George Maloof talking to reporters after the decision by the NBA Board of Governors Wednesday in Dallas, killing the deal to sell the team to a Seattle group.
Maloof discusses his feelings about the Seattle group and what may come next:
May 15, 2013 at 6:48 PM
If you want to watch the video of today’s NBA press conference on the decision not to allow the Sacramento Kings to relocate to Seattle, you can find it here.
May 15, 2013 at 5:21 PM
Here is the official transcript of the interview today with NBA commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver after the league’s Board of Governors voted 22-8 to not allow the Sacramento Kings to relocate to Seattle:
THE MODERATOR: We’ll start off with an opening statement from the Commissioner and then take your questions.
COMMISSIONER STERN: This is going to be short for me. I have a game to get to in Oklahoma City. But I am able and we’re able to report to you that the NBA Board of Governors voted to reject the relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle. The vote was 22 against relocation and 8 for, and if you’d like to know who the teams were, you can ask them. (more…)
May 15, 2013 at 5:12 PM
Chris Hansen, leader of the group that attempted to buy the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle, did not talk to reporters after today’s decision not to allow the team to relocate. However, he released a statement a few minutes through his sonicsarena.com web site and said he is still interested in joining the Maloofs as limited partners in the team.
Here’s his statement:
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!
May 15, 2013 at 2:59 PM
DALLAS — The NBA’s Board of Governors voted today to keep the Kings in Sacramento, denying a request for relocation to Seattle, NBA commissioner David Stern said in a press conference late Wednesday afternoon.
The vote came at the end of a roughly four-hour meeting here at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, and means that the NBA will not be returning to Seattle next season.
Stern said the question of ownership of the team was not settled today but could be in a day or so. The only options are for the Maloof family to keep it or sell it to a Sacramento group. Stern said the Seattle offer for the team “effectively ended” with today’s vote.
Stern said there are no immediate plans to reward a Seattle team but said expansion could be discussed after new TV deals are agreed upon. The NBA’s current deals run out after the 2015-16 season.
Stern said that while Seattle made a solid offer, that “the edge went to the incumbent” in keeping the team in Sacramento.
The decision came after each city made one last pitch to the Board of Governors, which consists of one voting member of each of the league’s 30 franchises. Sixteen owners needed to vote for relocation. Stern said the vote was 22-8 against relocation.
Seattle group that included Chris Hansen and former Sonics president and CEO Wally Walker went first. Also part of that group was two members of the current Sacramento ownership group — Gavin Maloof and Bob Hernreich. The Seattle presentation lasted about 45 minutes.
A Sacramento group that included mayor Kevin Johnson and the leader of the ownership contingent, Vivek Ranadive, went next and made a presentation that lasted a little bit longer. At about 3:25 local time, the owners reconvened to vote, finally emerging about 4:50 p.m. as news began to break that the Kings were staying.
Hansen led a group that reached an agreement in January to buy the Kings from the team’s current owners, the Maloof family, and then filed for relocation, hoping to begin playing in KeyArena for the 2013-14 season.
Hansen made an aggressive move for the team, including two increases, ultimately offering $406.25 million for 65 percent, a total valuation of $625 million that was the most ever bid for an NBA franchise.
Johnson, though, led an equally aggressive effort to keep the team in Sacramento – assembling an ownership group that made a bid that was said to be competitive to Seattle’s – as well as a plan for a new downtown arena.
NBA Commissioner David Stern had said his preference was to not relocate a team, and his support of Sacramento’s offer was likely a critical part of the team staying put.
Stern was seen as helping the Sacramento group revamp its ownership group – which is led by Vivek Ranadive, a co-owner of the Golden State Warriors – to get into position to make a bid that could keep the team. Johnson numerous times had said a key selling point of Sacramento’s bid was that local government had “stepped up” every time it had been asked in recent years, specifically in helping fund the arena plan. Sacramento’s plan for a $448 million arena includes $258 million in public money.
Stern has said that while expansion is “not a complete non-starter” in the long term, it is not being considered now, and there is no thought it is a serious immediate option.
And Hansen had targeted the Kings because they were seen as the team that might be the most vulnerable, with an aging and small arena, built in 1988, and an ownership group that had attempted previously to move the team.
One team that could become available is the Milwaukee Bucks, whose arena also dates to 1988 and where there is still not a firm plan for building a new one.
The league’s Relocation Committee voted 7-0 on April 29 to deny the right of the Kings to move.
After that vote, though, Hansen vowed that his fight was not over and he lobbed a couple more shots over the weekend, including an increase in the offer for a total of $406.25 million for 65 percent of the team, as well as offering a $4 million per team relocation fee (at total of $116 million), and making a backup agreement with the Maloofs to buy 20 percent of the team.
Hansen began the process of attempting to return the NBA to Seattle roughly three years ago when he began quietly buying up land in the Sodo District. Hansen first let the city of Seattle know about his plans in June 2011, and the first public notice came in December 2011.
Hansen, who grew up in the Rainier Valley, has said a seminal moment of his life came in 1979, when he was 11 years old and the Sonics won their only NBA championship. It still is the only championship for a Seattle team in one of the three major pro sports.
Hansen, now a hedge-fund manager who works in San Francisco, wasn’t in financial position to make a bid for the Sonics when they were bought in 2006 by Oklahoma City businessman Clay Bennett, who two years later hauled them to OKC.
There really wasn’t much being done, either by local governments or private investors, to return the NBA to Seattle until Hansen arrived on the scene.
May 15, 2013 at 11:07 AM
Here’s some video of a few Sonics fans in the lobby of the hotel where the NBA Board of Governors is meeting today:
May 15, 2013 at 9:56 AM
Here’s a little video of the scene prior to the NBA Board of Governors meetings today: