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David Stern non-committal on whether NBA would like to keep the Kings in Sacramento

Feb 15, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

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HOUSTON — David Stern gave a bit of a status update on where the potential sale of the Sacramento Kings stands on Thursday, but was non-committal on whether or not he would prefer to keep the team in Sacramento in the event the city comes up with a perfect counter-proposal.

“Right now there’s a contract of sale with Seattle, an application to move, and we’re awaiting Sacramento’s delivery of what Mayor Kevin Johnson says will be a very substantial offer to buy the team, keep it in Sacramento, and build a brand new building,” Stern said, before speaking at an opening ceremony for the All-Star weekend festivities at the George R. Brown Convention center in Houston.

When asked if Mayor Johnson’s offer came through with everything that was being promised if he would prefer to keep the team in Sacramento, Stern didn’t say one way or the other. But he did make sure to point out that the decision wasn’t his to make.

“That’s what I tell the owners, it’s up to them,” Stern said. “That’s why owners exist, not just little old commissioners. This is a subject for the Board of Governors.”

The Board of Governors will meet on April 18, which is the deadline for Johnson to submit his proposal to keep the team in Sacramento. Stern believes the league will receive it before then.

“If the mayor follows through on what he’s told us, we’ll have it comfortably by March 1,” he said.

The commissioner also commented briefly on the Kings’ ownership group’s right of first refusal that was first reported by Aaron Bruski here at PBT.

From Chris Daniels of KING5 TV in Seattle (via Twitter):

Stern said in response to my question on legal issues with#NBAKings deal: “I have a sense the first refusal right will be accommodated…

Stern (cont) “…in some shape or form. I can’t speak about lawsuits against pending buildings or environmental reviews.”

More Stern, to me, on #NBASeattle deal “I’m not expecting something bad from a legal perspective”.

There is obviously a long way to go here between the upcoming proposal from Mayor Johnson and the outcome of any pending or future litigation.

You get the idea, however, that no matter the outcome, the league doesn’t mind having two major media markets clamoring for the ownership of one of its franchises.

“It’s a very good situation to have,” Stern said. “Two world-class cities, in effect, would like to have one team that’s available.”

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