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Kings to Seattle: It’s not done. But don’t be shocked if it is soon.

Jan 9, 2013, 8:34 PM EDT

Seattle SuperSonics v Denver Nuggets Getty Images

Things can change. There was already what was supposed to be a final game in Sacramento that turned out to not be so final. And anyone who doesn’t think the Maloofs can change their mind at the last minute didn’t watch the arena negotiations in Sacramento a year ago.

But the Maloof family selling the Kings franchise to Seattle’s Chris Hansen/Steve Ballmer group for around $500 million is moving fast down the road to reality.

And it’s what David Stern wants, which makes it all the more likely. And he wants it to happen before March 1 so the new owners can file to move the team to Seattle next season (a lame-duck year in Sacramento would be ugly).

When the news broke Wednesday that a deal was close, it seemed to come out of nowhere. But these talks didn’t. They have been going on months or longer and I was told have been serious for a little while. More serious than Virginia Beach ever was because the money is there in Seattle. Hansen’s company is pitching in for the arena and to buy the team and it is a $2.7 billion firm. Ballmer is worth more than $15 billion by himself.

They can overpay for the franchise, pay relocation fees, and whatever else. While the City of Seattle is going to pitch in a bond for the stadium construction, this is not like the deal in Virginia or even the old deal in Seattle before the Sonics moved where the state governments were asked to pitch in some cash. Most of the money in the project is private financing and there is no state money. Those kind of projects get done.

David Stern looks back at what happened before in Seattle, a great basketball market, as a black eye, and he wants to see a team return there. It’s one of his last priorities and something he wants as a legacy, according to reports. And what Stern wants…

But that is different than saying this is a lock.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says there is hope and there is, because this is a massive deal. A very complex deal. Remember that in all of this the Kings and Maloofs have a debt to the city of Sacramento worth more than $75 million, plus other obligations. Those have to be cleared up. The Kings owners would remain a minority owner in the new team and arena. This is an arena some in Seattle — including baseball’s Mariners — have opposed. Large deals with a lot of moving parts can crumble.

But it’s hard to see some cavalry come charging over the hill to save the Kings, because the NBA isn’t fond of the cavalry.

David Stern and the plethora of other attorneys at the NBA league offices are big on process. They want someone to be around, to work through the system, not to just swoop in last minute. Hansen has been talking to the league and working on his arena deal for years. Getting the team is just the last, big part of that.

If Hansen does buy the team, there will not be opposition from the other owners. Because Stern wants this and because stable ownership in a large Seattle market is a good thing. It will fly through the league process. However, team officials around the league have been warned not to comment on these talks, reports Sam Amick at the USA Today.

In the end, I wouldn’t bet the rent money on the Maloofs selling the team because they are unpredictable. To put it kindly. I mean a key owner of the Kings is on “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” And the deal has not reached the point the minority owners of the Kings have been informed, reports the USA Today.

But the Seattle deal didn’t come out of nowhere, it’s been worked on for a while. The Maloofs were not telling Kevin Johnson about it but the talks have been happening and it’s not going to be easy for Johnson to wedge himself into them at this point. Now it’s time to see if the deal can be finalized. Something David Stern wants. And what he wants he usually gets.

  1. smcgaels1997 - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    It’s ridiculous to keep saying Stern wants Seattle to have the Kings. He may want a team back there..but it’s asinine to say he wants to cure a previous wrong with a current wrong. Do you really think he wants to destroy one fanbase to make up for before?

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:02 AM

      Sac has no fan base, the stadium is empty, just like Seattle when they get a deal like what is going down they can get a team to return. Seattle didn’t have any commitments before the move to OKC. Mariners are douche bags, they will never win anything!

      • angelchica - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:23 PM

        Sac has loyal Kings fans. Get it straight. We love the Kings. We hate the Maloofs. There is no easy solution. But Sacramento should be given a chance to match any offer that comes from Seattle. Otherwise, its just the Maloofs getting back at Johnson for not bowing to their demands last year.

    • echech88 - Jan 10, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      Apples and Oranges. The Sonics entire franchise history was in Seattle. The Kings have gone from Rochester to Cincy to Kansas City to Sacramento. The Sonics were in Seattle twice as long as the Kings have been in Sacramento when they were moved.

      I agree it is sad for their fanbase in Sacramento but there is a difference between a team that has never been anywhere else getting taken away and a city that is the 4th stop in the franchise’s history moving again.

      Let’s not act like this is the Cubs leaving Chicago or the Packers leaving Green Bay.

  2. ccraig232 - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    If this happens then I fully expect fans in Seattle to cry and moan for fans in Sacramento instead of being hypocrites and cheer for a team that does not belong to them.

    • tomtravis76 - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:24 PM

      Do the fans of Sacramento feel bad for the fans in cities that this franchise has already left( Kansas City, Cincy and Rochester)? This is professional sports, almost all teams move around. You can’t get attached to an entertainment product. Leagues and Owners don’t care about the fans/community they are in unless they are getting everything they want, and when they don’t they go where the grass is greener.

    • echech88 - Jan 10, 2013 at 11:24 AM

      But by your own logic, then the Kings don’t really belong to Sacramento either. What about poor Kansas City or Rochester?

      The Kings have never belonged to one city. If there is a team that should move in any professional sport, it’s one that has already done so 4 times.

      • ccraig232 - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:21 PM

        I am around the Kansas City area. We took losing a team in stride. Unlike Seattle where they have done nothing but act bitter and cry and moan about losing the team. If you want to go down that path then you could say half the league doesn’t belong to the fans and city the team is currently in. The NBA has a history of relocating franchises. Seattle fans should have known it was a possibility that the team could be moved once the team was sold. It is the city and fans own fault for buying into what Bennett was saying. They should have acted with a little more class about it rather than cry and moan and show up to Thunder games wearing Sonic jerseys and holding up signs saying “we were robbed” If they were so outraged over that team being “stolen” from them then they should not be ok with cheering for a team they want to steal from another city. Sports is filled with hypocrites and Seattle is about to be the latest and newest example of it.

  3. chargerdillon - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    Minus the people living in Sactown or just outside of it does anybody…ANYBODY care about either franchise? The Kings have a history of always sucking, and the Sonics history is just a little less sucky

    Whether we had one or the other, it doesn’t really matter. However the the supersonics left to become is something to be impressed by. OKC is a real franchise, it just took them leaving Seattle to do it, and it will probably take that again for it to happen to the Kings franchise.

    Happy for Seattle, Sad for Sactown, could ultimately care less as I live in San Diego and root for a team in rival Los Angeles, my city doesnt have a team and I get by just fine.

    • MyTeamsAllStink - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:46 PM

      You don’t have a baseball or football team either

  4. jtylert - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    The difference between this purchase and the Clay Bennett/OKC purchase, is that Hansen and Balmer are going into this say “Hi we want to buy a team and move it to Seattle.”

    Bennett said “Hi I want to buy your team. What? Of COURSE I want to keep it in Seattle!! Don’t be silly!! I’ll do everything in my power to keep your team where it belongs!!”

    There’s nothing underhanded about this.

  5. MyTeamsAllStink - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    If the Kings move its sad because its one less “small market” in pro sports.If Stern had his way all the teams would be in New York LA Chicago Houston Philly and Miami.

    • blueintown - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:44 PM

      Please explain the benefit of having all the teams in six cities. I would love to hear it.

      • MyTeamsAllStink - Jan 10, 2013 at 10:41 AM

        It’s called sarcasm if you use your dictionary once In a while you might understand that.

      • blueintown - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:08 PM

        How would a dictionary help anyone interpret the context of a statement? Regardless, losing a bad basketball team in a market that cannot support it isn’t sad, it’s inevitable. They’ve been at or near the bottom of the league in attendance for some time now. I’m sure the good people of Sacramento will survive.

    • mazblast - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:19 PM

      Add Boston to that list.

      Actually, Little Caesar doesn’t want ALL the teams in the league to be in the biggest markets, just all the WINNING teams. Someone has to serve as cannon fodder and farm teams for the Designated Winners.

      • philtration - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:04 PM

        Gotta have your Washington Generals of the league

  6. seattle2013 - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    I live downtown in Seattle. I don’t want Sacremento to lose their team. I saw what happened here. It left a bad taste in the city that is still here. There’s a lot of people around here that won’t go to another NBA game no matter who they bring in and what they build to house them. Thank Stern, his buddy Clay Bennet and Howard Schultz for that. I respect what Hansen and Balmer are trying to do here but I hope it’s not at the expense of a city that supports their team. An expansion franchise would be a better option but would further deplete the already watered down talent pool in the NBA. So I don’t know what to say about Seattle. I live here… I know people want the NBA back. I don’t think we’re the type of city that will support poaching a franchise from Sac. after what we’ve been through though. Maybe I’m wrong… I don’t know.

    • lionsplayoffs - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:58 PM

      You’re right that an expansion team would make people feel better, but there are too many teams as it is. When guys who shoot 40% from the free throw line are making $10M per, you’ve got a watered down league.

  7. dls612 - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    now that it seems the kings are leaving, Looks like the clippers picked up a few more fans! Woulda been the Lakers but, well u know!

    • imthewiz77 - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:18 PM

      Or Warriors as its geographically close. Don’t really see a need for two teams that close anyway

  8. saint1997 - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    Do you think they will still be the supersonics??

    • mazblast - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:28 PM

      The name is available. IIRC part of the agreement that allowed the previous Seattle team to move to OKC was that the name SuperSonics stayed in Seattle.

      • saint1997 - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:34 PM

        thanks :) I’m not sure if they should use it though, maybe make a fresh beginning

      • tomtravis76 - Jan 10, 2013 at 9:18 AM

        The new franchise and city should keep the records. Pretty sure OKC pulled an Indy Colts in regards to keeping another cities history.

  9. ruffridin - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    Make this happen!

  10. glink123 - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    To the clown who said Seattle has a sucky basketball reputation, they’ve won more NBA championships than over half the league.

  11. iamjimmyjack - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    In other news, the San Diego chargers are moving to Los Angeles…I. Sure u won’t mind tho, right?

  12. ubermartimus - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    There is one thing to remember here; Hansen, and the others from Seattle are trying to buy the Kings with the express intention of moving them to Seattle. When Schultz sold to Bennett, we all knew the team was going to wherever they went. Bennett said words and acted like he wanted to stay, the price being a 500 million dollar, publicly financed stadium that he knew he wouldn’t get, and everyone said words about what a great market Seattle was, but it was all B.S. This is different. Everybody knows whats up, and Sacramento is seeking local ownership, and as a former Sonics fan, I hope they get it, and the Kings stay there. The NBA doesn’t deserve to be in Seattle.

  13. canadabaseball - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:54 PM

    What about Vancouver? I know that stern says this is on of his biggest regrets
    And will they stay as the sonics?

  14. kenyanteg123 - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:13 AM

    The Seattle Douchebags.

  15. greghandle - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    The Seattle Douchebags are in OKC. The Sacramento Douchebags are selling to a group of investors from Seattle.

    There is no happy ending for any city forced to play musical chairs with their team.

  16. fcoprado - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Seattle needs an NBA team,not expansion.The Kings are better off in Seattle than in Sac town.

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