Wait could be longer for Sonics fans; Kings sold to Calif. investors

May 17, 2013

The effort to bring the Sacramento Kings to Seattle is officially over. After the NBA Board of Governors voted Wednesday to deny relocation of the Kings to Seattle, the team has now been sold to California investors.

The Sacramento Bee reports a Sacramento investors group has reached a deal with the Maloof family to buy the Kings for an NBA record valuation of $535 million.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel phoned in a report on the deal late Thursday night.

When Art and I met for our weekly chat on Thursday - before the sale of the Kings was announced - we talked about the urgency with which Seattle lead investor Chris Hansen is trying to find an NBA team.

Art says, ideally, Hansen would like to get a team before August 2013 Seattle mayoral primary - before any support for the arena shifts or goes away completely.

"Hansen knows that to come this far this fast with this project was an extraordinary achievement - and it's also fragile. He had to get the city and county councils to sign off on this, which most people wouldn't have believe would've happened, but it did. And it could un-happen. If (Mayor Mike) McGinn doesn't keep office, his successor may unwind it in different ways."

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Hansen's group, the city and King County is a five-year deal. But Art says these things can stall out.

Expansion only realistic hope

Hansen's arena plan is not a done deal. An environmental review of the proposed SoDo site is still being conducted. And the MOU mandates that there be a team in hand before construction can begin.

"The only way it gets started is if a team is here. And the problem with that is the number of teams in a position to move are minimal to non-existent. Hansen's only hope - realistically - is expansion."

You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and Crosscut.com.