NBA owners: Sacramento Kings to stay put

May 15, 2013

NBA owners voted Wednesday to reject the Sacramento Kings' proposed move to Seattle. 

The 22-to-8 vote followed a recommendation made last month by the NBA's relocation committee and may have finally brought an end to an emotional saga that has dragged on for nearly three years.

"This was not an anti-Seattle vote; this was a pro-Sacramento vote," said NBA Commissioner David Stern.

The owners' vote came just days after Chris Hansen and a group of investors raised their proposed purchase price for the franchise by $75 million, bringing the total to $625 million “in an effort to further demonstrate the extent of our commitment to bring basketball back.” The group also guaranteed to the league that the franchise would be a revenue sharing payer, Hansen said.

The increased bid was rumored to have offended the owners; however, Stern said such was not the case and blamed the rumor on "the Twitterverse."

"Chris Hansen did everything he could do, plus more. And Steve Ballmer couldn't have been more supportive," said Stern. "Once Sacramento got engaged in doing this and delivering on the promises, the principle of advantage to the incumbent went to Sacramento."

Stern said he believed Seattle will find its own expansion team in due time. Adam Silver, who will take over as the league's commissioner in February, said the league would like to return to Seattle. 

"We never wavered in our desire to return to the Seattle market," Silver said.

Stern said the league will spend the next 24 to 48 hours talking to the Maloofs, the team's owners, about working out a deal with a competing ownership group in Sacramento.

The Maloofs reached an agreement in January to sell a 65 percent controlling interest in the team to Hansen's group at a total franchise valuation of $525 million, topping the NBA-record $450 million for Joe Lacob and Peter Guber to buy the Warriors in 2010. Then Hansen increased his offer to $550 million, which implies buying the 65 percent stake for about $357 million.

Following the relocation committee's unanimous recommendation on April 29 to deny the move to Seattle, Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer dug deeper into their pockets in a final attempt to sway the NBA Board of Governors. They raised the valuation of the Kings to $625 million, or $406 million for the Maloofs' interest in the franchise, and offered a $115 million relocation fee, nearly four times what Clay Bennett paid to move the Sonics.

Hansen's group also guaranteed owners that the franchise would pay into the league's revenue-sharing system in Seattle and not collect money as it has in Sacramento.