While we’ve been covering this pretty extensively over the past few weeks and everyone knew this was coming, the NBA officially killed the Sacramento Kings’ proposed move to Seattle on Wednesday. The NBA owners voted Wednesday to reject the move with a 22-8 vote.
Until now the NBA’s relocation committee had simply recommended the league reject the move. Now that the owners have voted, it is officially dead.
A group led by investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had tried to move the team to Seattle in the hopes of renaming it the SuperSonics. The original Sonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008 and became the Thunder.
The Maloof family, which owns the Kings, had negotiated a deal with Hansen’s group to sell the team. Brothers Joe and Gavin Maloof have been running the franchise, and were said to be intent on only selling only to the Seattle-based group. Hansen was willing to pay $406 million for 65 percent of the team, which would have bought the Maloofs out.
NBA commissioner David Stern claims that he hopes to spend the next 24 to 48 hours with the Maloofs, working out a deal to sell the team to an ownership group in Sacramento. A group led by Silicon Valley billionaire Vivek Ranadive has already worked out a deal with local government officials to build a new arena. The group has secured $250 million in public funding for the project.
Stern said the following:
“It’s my expectation that we’ll be able to make a deal with the Maloofs and the Ranadive group to transfer title of the team in Sacramento. It’s not a certainty but we’re going to work for that result.”
The big winners on Wednesday were the city of Sacramento and Kings fans. Seattle is still stuck without an NBA team, but could get one via expansion in a few years when the league cuts a new TV deal.