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Seattle, Sacramento make cases; Stern says decision could take longer than expected

Apr 3, 2013, 7:23 PM EST

*Jul 24 - 00:05*

The news you actually care about out of Wednesday’s combined meeting of the NBA owners’ sale and relocation committees will leak out over the next few days. That’s when we’ll see which side gained an advantage (if any) and where the owners are leaning on the question of where the Kings will play next season — Seattle or Sacramento.

In a Manhattan hotel Wednesday, both groups make their pitches to the owners.

David Stern came out of the meeting and basically went to the Rasheed Wallace staple — “both sides played hard.” Here is what he said, via Ben Golliver at Sports Illustrated.

“We heard a day full of extraordinary presentations of a complex real estate, arena, construction timelines, potential obstacles and team funding in two really great cities,” Stern said. “It was a long day without any breaks and both sides made, in my view, very, very strong presentations.”

Then he gave the only bit of real news to come directly out of the meeting — the owners may not be ready to vote come the Board of Governors’ meeting April 18-19.

“It’s not at all clear what our precise timeline is for a final determination here is because the most important thing is doing all the work that has to be done,” Stern said. “We’re doing it as fast as collectively can together. It may well slide past the board meeting, but I wouldn’t expect it, if it does, to slide by a lot. Because there’s a combined interest in having some clarity come to this situation.”

The Seattle group is led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. They have an agreement to purchase 65 percent of the team, which is valued at $525 million, and have applied for relocation to take the team to Seattle. The team would play in the Key Arena in Seattle for a few seasons while a new arena is constructed (it is in environmental review). They came out confident, according to reports.

However, whatever happened inside the room Sacramento apparently won the press conferences — they were looser. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, has put together a strong counter offer led by billionaire Vivek Ranadive to go with 24-Hour Fitness owner to lead a group buying the team, and with Ron Burkle behind a deal to get a new arena done in downtown Sacramento.

So now we wait. And we could be waiting more than just a couple weeks for the answer.

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