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David Stern sets the stage for final leg of the Sacramento Kings saga

Feb 19, 2013, 5:44 PM EDT

NBA Commissioner David Stern listens at a news conference before the All Star slam dunk competition during the NBA basketball All-Star weekend in Houston Reuters

There is a lot to understand when it comes to the potential sale of Sacramento Kings.  As NBA commissioner David Stern laid out Saturday, the 29 owners deciding the Kings’ future home face a complex story involving a great ownership group in Seattle and a compelling story out of Sacramento.

Seattle’s ownership group already has executed a contract to buy the Kings from the Maloof family. If Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson produces a “fair and competitive” offer – including a significant public subsidy for a new arena – it would potentially give the owners two viable options.

A sale agreement would need to be approved by a three-quarters vote of NBA owners. A relocation approval must pass with a majority vote. Both issues are intertwined, as Stern has combined both relocation and finance committees to review the matter with a vote likely occurring at the Board of Governors meeting in mid-April.

The Maloofs have already filed for relocation to Seattle, and despite reports out of Seattle that the deal has already been vetted Stern said on Saturday that the committees are still reviewing the sale and relocation bid.

Early reports mirrored the efforts of the Seattle group to portray an NBA decision to allow the Kings to move to Seattle as a done deal.  Sources have told PBT that Sacramento would be given a real chance to produce a ‘fair and competitive’ offer to keep the team in California’s capitol.

Stern’s comments have echoed that sentiment leading up to this week, and on Saturday he said it was “plausible” that the Kings remain in Sacramento, and that a decision would be made on a number of criteria but that “economics” would not be the lone factor. Stern’s comments are rooted in the multitude of issues that will play a role in the BOG’s decision-making that aren’t tied to franchise price, but overlook the “economics” factor.

“I don’t think it’s a bidding war….” Stern said last week. “There’s a series of issues that are defined by our constitution that have to be considered. One of the things that our board is mandated to consider is the support for the team in the prior city. So there are real issues for the board to consider, about the buildings, about the likelihood they will be built, about the support from the cities.”

Stern also addressed the idea of expansion on Saturday, an idea that would give the league a potential out to keep both cities and potential ownership groups happy.

“I don’t see any scenario where both cities are happy….” Stern said. “There’s a large group of owners who believe that expansion as an economic matter; is a neutral thing. At least the way we’ve done it to date, you get a lot of money in and in return for that you cut the new team in for a large and growing source of revenue from national TV, national licensing, and all things international and digital. And then it doesn’t really seem to make that much additional sense as the increased revenue that demands to the gross (basketball-related income) and increased each player costs and the like.

“So it has to be parsed and analyzed but right now given that we’ve just come through an intriguing collective bargaining negotiation and coupled it with specific revenue sharing, over $200 million, I think the sentiment is to let it all settle and assess how we are doing and what the projections are for how we’ll do.”

Multiple sources told PBT that even if expansion were a possibility that it would be extremely unlikely for the league to express support for it.

This will continue as a two-city race for one team to be decided by the Board of Governors in the coming months.

  1. mrlaloosh - Feb 19, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    Slimy Stern has already sold Sac Town down the river. All this phony posturing is comical. This deal is DONE!

  2. harper2 - Feb 19, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    Don’t get me wrong, I want the Kings to stay more than anyone. But after 3 years of being put through this emotional rollercoaster, having my thoughts consumed of this on a daily basis, I find some relief in knowing that either way, the saga will finally be over for good this time.

  3. vgne - Feb 19, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    Average Home Attendance 1985-2008 (K = Sacramento Kings, S = Seattle SuperSonics)

    K- 10,333
    S- 8,032,
    K- 10,333
    S- 8,692,
    K- 10,333
    S- 12,008,
    K- 16,517
    S- 12,920,
    K- 17,014
    S- 12,244,
    K- 17,014
    S- 12,443,
    K- 17,014
    S- 14,315,
    K- 17,317
    S- 15,805,
    K- 17,317
    S- 14,682,
    K- 17,317
    S- 15,457,
    K- 17,317
    S- 17,007,
    K- 17,317
    S- 17,072,
    K- 14,767
    S- 17,072,
    K- 16,750
    S- 17,072,
    K- 17,562
    S- 15,018,
    K- 17,317
    S- 15,630,
    K- 17,317
    S- 15,630,
    K- 17,317
    S- 15,451,
    K- 17,317
    S- 15,541,
    K- 17,317
    S- 15,255,
    K- 17,317
    S- 16,475,
    K- 17,317
    S- 16,198,
    K- 17,317
    S- 15,955,
    K- 14,150
    S- 13,355

    SACRAMENTO’S attendance was HIGHER than Seattle’s for 21 OUT OF 24 SEASONS since the Kings moved here in 1985. Sacramento has sold out 17 out of its 28 seasons. If you think Seattle supports their Sonics more than Sacramento does for its Kings then you are only kidding yourself, numbers don’t lie! The Maloofs have threatened to move the Kings for the last few years and BACKED OUT on an arena deal. Fans have lost trust in their team due to all of the Maloof’s nonsense. Give us new owners and our trust and attendance will go back up.

    SACRAMENTO DESERVES TO KEEP IT’S TEAM! TWO WRONGS DON’T MAKE A RIGHT! ($23,280,000 and counting as of 2/19/13)


    • dans761 - Feb 19, 2013 at 10:30 PM

      You are a joke! That’s like saying okc has the best fans because their attendance! What you fail to mention is/was in 1985 NBA was a new novelty in Sacramento like OKC is/was in 2008. Then in Sacramento when the novelty wears off then the Kings start winning so people continue to go to games! Now? You are DEAD LAST in attendance in the NBA you were DEAD LAST, last year and from 2008 forward near dead last in attendance! Another example of the dwindling support in Sacramento? The “here we stay” night in Sacramento where the fans/media spent 4 WEEKS organizing to show the NBA Sacramento is a NBA city. After giving out free tickets, discounted tickets and everything short of handing them out to homeless people Sacramento could only fill 93% of the building! An embarrassment! Talk up Sacramento all you want, they had fan support when they moved from KC in 1985 but now that the Kings are a losing franchise and the novelty wore off that’s where you sit today DEAD LAST in attendance in the NBA. Sacramento isn’t special. The team was in 4-5 different cities. I’m not gonna predict who ends up with the Kings/Sonics but one thing is for sure there are many more Sonics fans then Kings fans. Sacramento should not get the benefit of the doubt people in Seattle, KC, Omaha Rochester Vancouver etc never got. You aren’t special or else your attendance today would reflect that! Tired of you Sacramento people thinking you’re so much better then everyone else. Show up for games and stop using every excuse in the book not to. Relying on something you use to have wont keep your team, and you’re certainly no better then any NBA city that has lost their team.

      • vgne - Feb 21, 2013 at 6:45 AM

        Maybe you’re right, maybe there isn’t the same kind of support in Sacramento as there once was, but one thing I do know is that the supporters of the Sacramento Kings are NO JOKE and we will continue to believe and we will continue to fight for our team until the very end!

    • Robert - Feb 20, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      Pretty pathetic. Seattle has other sports venues in it- during the time of the Sonics(Seahawks- Mariners). Seattle is a first class city with 100 things to do. Sacramento hasnothing to do but shop obsessivly at Wal Mart.

      Sacramento has no other teams to worship. The Kings are the only thing in town -in a city that is considered the “Topeka” Kansas of California. So of course attendance is higher.

      This is even sadder that these folks have zero life. 600 Million for the “Tampa Bay Rays” of Basketball says it all.

      The Kings will never win anything but a “Runners Up” trophy while staying in Sacramento, Kansas.

      Please. Moving this team to Seattle will increase life and upgrade the Kings to a first class city.

      Staying in Sacramento only pro longs misery and last place dwelling.

  4. mogogo1 - Feb 19, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    Wasn’t there supposedly a clause in the ownership agreement where the Kings’ minority owners got first dibs if the Maloofs sold? At least that’s what PBT originally reported and there certainly hasn’t been time for a court to rule on it. How could the NBA okay any sale until that was resolved?

    • dans761 - Feb 19, 2013 at 10:57 PM

      As Stern said its not an issue

  5. ruffridin - Feb 20, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    Both cities should have a team…Vancouver too

  6. mazblast - Feb 20, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    The team will go where Stern wants it to go. All the committees, Boards, and whatever are mere window dressing. Neither city should trust him, as he’ll do what he wants and will have a rationalization either way.

    The one good thing that will come out of this, maybe the only good thing, is that we’ll be rid of the Maloofs.

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