NBA committee recommends denial of Kings move to Seattle
It appears there will be no professional basketball in Seattle this year.
The NBA’s relocation committee has favored keeping the Kings franchise in Sacramento, turning down a bid to revive the Sonics.
The unanimous vote leaves a number of questions about what happens next for investor Chris Hansen and his attempts to bring the Sonics back to Seattle.
Hansen issued a statement late Monday that said he has no plans of giving up his goal of bringing an NBA team to Seattle.
"When we started this process everyone thought it was impossible. While this represents yet another obstacle to achieving our goal, I just wanted to reassure all of you that we have numerous options at our disposal and have absolutely no plans to give up. Impossible is nothing but a state of mind,' he said.
KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel, of SportsPressNW.com, says Hansen’s group of investors, which includes Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, must be stunned.
“I think this was a real blow to them; I don’t think they saw this coming,” he said. ”I talked to a number of people in the organization, and they all felt pretty positive. I don’t think they felt the Sacramento bid was credible, both from an ownership standpoint and an arena standpoint.”
Thiel says credit goes to Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson who assembled a group of billionaires and an arena plan to keep the Kings.
A final vote from the full board of NBA owners will come later in May.
The committee did not have authority to talk about the possibility of creating a new expansion team—one of the last hopes for Sonics fans.
Meanwhile, the environmental analysis continues for a potential new arena south of downtown Seattle. Construction cannot begin until a team is secured.
The two political leaders who have aligned themselves most closely with the effort to build a new NBA arena both issued statements holding out hope.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn released a statement that said, "We're going to stay focused on our job: making sure Seattle remains in a position to get a team when the opportunity presents itself."
King County Executive Dow Constantine also issued a written statement.
"I’m disappointed, but undeterred in our quest to bring NBA basketball back to the Pacific Northwest. Today’s decision doesn’t mean this effort is over," the statement said.