NBA in Seattle

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A recent visit by the head of the National Hockey League has people in Seattle once again talking about whether the NHL will beat the NBA to town. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says that's "score one" for the hockey execs.

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Billionaire Chris Hansen must pay the California Fair Political Practices Commission $50,000 for his role in a secretive effort to funnel money to a group trying to thwart Sacramento's efforts to build a new downtown arena.

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A state appeals court ruled against the longshoremen’s union in its attempt to block a new NBA arena in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood. 

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Seattle billionaire Chris Hansen says he regrets funding a secretive effort to block a new downtown arena for Sacramento's professional basketball team.

Hansen's involvement was disclosed by California's campaign watchdog Friday.

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.

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With Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson already celebrating his city’s victory in the bid to keep the Kings in town, Chris Hansen and his Seattle-based investment group upped the ante on Friday.

Hansen said his group has raised the 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.

Richard Drew / Associated Press

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.

The Maloof family is asking NBA owners to approve the sale of the Kings to a Seattle group, saying there is "significant distance between us and the Sacramento group."

In a letter sent to the NBA's relocation and finance committee, and obtained by The Associated Press on Friday, the Maloof family said the Sacramento group originally matched the $525 million valuation for the franchise that Chris Hansen negotiated. Hansen then increased the valuation offer to $550 million last week.

Richard Drew / Associated Press

Don’t expect a decision this week on the fate of the Sacramento Kings.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said NBA Commissioner David Stern cautioned as much during a phone call on Monday. The mayor said he had called to tell the commissioner that “we were pushing ahead here in Seattle."

"He informed me then that he does not expect a decision out of the NBA on Friday, that it will be sometime after the meeting that we’ll get a decision made," McGinn said.

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Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has announced a new investor to help fill the role vacated by billionaire Ron Burkle in the city's bid to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle.

Johnson said at his weekly news conference Tuesday that Sacramento developer Mark Friedman has joined the group. The announcement comes a day after Burkle backed out because of a conflict of interest stemming from his ownership stake in Relativity Sports, which manages some NBA players' careers.

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As the NBA weighs whether to allow the Kings basketball team to move to Seattle from Sacramento, the league has to consider the possibility of an antitrust lawsuit.

Why should the Sacramento Kings be worth more than $500 million when they’re nowhere near the top of the league? Sports economist Roger Noll of Stanford University says it’s simple: a scarce supply of teams. That's by design, he says, because NBA owners want to keep their franchises valuable. And that exposes the league to a possible lawsuit. 

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Investor Chris Hansen says his group’s website has seen “stunning" interest from Seattleites who want to bring an NBA team to the city.

“We received requests for over 44,000 full season tickets, 268 suites and had 983 businesses interested in sponsorship opportunities,” he said, adding 32,000 of the requests for full-season tickets came within the first 24 hours after the priority ticket waitlist went live on sonicsarena.com.

Sacramento is in a stronger position to convince the NBA to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle with a deal now in place to build an 18,500-seat arena downtown.

The Sacramento City Council voted 7-2 Tuesday to approve a deal that contributes $258 million to the $447 million project. The city plans to use money earned from leasing parking garages for events at the arena to help pay the public cost of the new arena on the current site of an aging shopping mall.

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Chris Hansen and his group of investors have released preliminary design renderings of Seattle’s next basketball arena.

The plan features “non-traditional elements” including three stacked balconies in lieu of top rows above the seating bowl, Hansen’s group said on sonicsarena.com.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

The agreement to sell the Sacramento Kings to a Seattle investment group - with the goal of moving the team to Seattle - is not a slam dunk. It still needs NBA approval. And momentum is growing in Sacramento to try to keep the Kings there.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel tries to clear up some of the confusion Seattle fans may have about what's going on.

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