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With Kings staying in Sacramento, Seattle has no good options

Apr 30, 2013, 12:25 PM EDT

Seattle SuperSonics v Denver Nuggets Getty Images

Throughout the spin and back-and-forth between Seattle and Sacramento over the fate of the Kings, every rational Sacramento backer said Seattle deserved a team — not this team, not their team, but a team.

So now that the NBA’s relocation committee has recommended rejecting the move of the team — a lead the other NBA owners are expected to follow when they vote in a couple weeks, a move that keeps the Kings in Sacramento — the question becomes what is next for Seattle and its bid to find a new Supersonics?

Chris Hansen, the billionaire venture capitalist behind the Seattle bid, said he’s not giving up on this deal. That’s nice. That’s what he’s supposed to say. The deal is still DOA.

Seattle radio host Mitch Levy spoke with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer — the No. 2 guy in the Seattle group — after the vote and he sounded less optimistic in the short term.

The problem for Seattle is there just are not other options for them right now. They can keep pushing to get all the approvals lined up for an arena, but getting a team will not be easy.

Look at the NBA smallest markets, ones you could well argue are inferior to what Seattle offers. New Orleans just got a new owner in Tom Benson that is fully committed to keeping the team in place. Memphis? Just got a new owner and already had a rock solid lease that runs for another eight years. Charlotte? Whatever you think of Michael Jordan as an owner he’s not getting out of that business soon. Oklahoma City and San Antonio certainly aren’t going anywhere soon, same with Utah.

Milwaukee? That’s the top rumor but I don’t see that one either. Herb Kohl reportedly has considered selling the team, but they have a locked down lease for four more seasons after this one. Yes, there a stadium issue the league is pressuring the city on, but we’re four years away from any kind of deadline. Also remember, that’s Senator Kohl — he’s not seated anymore but guys who were elected to statewide office tend not to sell teams to guys looking to pull a team out of a state. It’s not impossible, but it’s not likely at all.

Seattle doesn’t have other good NBA options right now other than being patient. And as the fan of any team will tell you, being patient sucks.

  1. Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 30, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    This is ridiculous.

  2. spideysdog - Apr 30, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    oh it’s a happy day for Kurt the Sonic Basher. keep hating. the last chapter hasn’t been written my friend. the reality is, as Hansen indicated on the post your referencing,at, there are still “options”. the reality is, this is likely heading to court. The Maloofs entered a binding agreement with the Sonics group. the Seattle group has better funds, higher sale price, an arena deal further in the process, and a fan base with full support.

    I will agree, that I do not foresee the Kings moving to Seattle. but in order to avoid a court case that would expose REAL NBA finances to the public, I believe you will see a deal between the NBA and the Hansen/Ballmer group that puts NBA hoops back in Seattle in the next 5 years.

  3. joshvanklomp - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    As a Timberwolves fan, I sure we don’t become the next in line. Our owner is looking to sell, but only to a buyer committed to keeping the team in Minnesota. Still, many Wolves fans are worried that it could still happen.

    For Seattle, the Timberwolves might be one of the best possible outcomes. The roster and coaching staff has tons of ties to both Washington and the Pacific Northwest (Love, Adelman, Porter, Sikma, Ridnour). Plus, it has young marketable star power in Love and Rubio.

    It makes logical sense, but I hope and pray that it doesn’t happen!

    • mikebrodycomic - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:29 PM

      Hey Josh,

      Nice to see a fellow T-Wolves fan online. We do exist. And to prove it, here’s my Timberwolves blog:

      I wonder…if the Seattle group offered as much as they did for Sacramento to Minnesota, would they change their tune? I sure hope not. Lousy as the Timberwolves are, they’re my team and I’d be crushed.

  4. MyTeamsAllStink - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    I know its not nearly the same thing but what about an NHL franchise?The Coyotes are a lame duck team Chris Hanson can buy them for a significantly lower price than an NBA franchise and still build that arena.And legally can they call the NHL team the sonics?

  5. rando74 - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    I’m from Sacramento and I don’t feel bad for Seattle. you lost your team because you didn’t support it enough to keep it. don’t come in my backyard and try to take what you gave up. Earn it back. we fought tooth and nail to keep our team. nothing is free Seattle.

    • joenash72 - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:08 PM

      Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story, rando74………….

      The Sacremento arena funding is all smoke and mirrors. I’ll believe you are gonna get it built when I actually see it.

      The NBA loves itself a publicly-funded arena, though. Even if it runs your city into the ground.

    • praetorian12 - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:14 PM

      The people of Seattle supported the Sonics to the bitter end, our politicians simply refused to bend over and build Clay Bennett a publicly funded $600 M palace, and the NBA left. The fat cats, Schultz, Bennett, Stern and the politicians let the Sonics go, but don’t you dare say the fans didn’t support the Sonics. It’s offensive and it’s wrong. I know, ‘cuz I was sitting there in the seats.

    • sweetnlow44 - May 1, 2013 at 6:30 PM

      Dumbest comment ever, rando74. Congrats.

  6. melkipershero - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    The worst option is expansion? The best option in contraction. Move one of the smaller market teams to Seattle (looking at you Bucks) and contract 4-6 other teams. The NBA is so watered down it’s easy for the haves (Lakers, typically; Heat, Celtics, etc.) to dominate and harder for the have nots (Bobcats, Hornets, etc.) to build anything that lasts.

    • readysethike - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:40 PM

      they could move memphis to the east since they actually are on the east coast if the bucks move to seattle that way the conferences are still even

      • melkipershero - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:10 PM

        I’d love the Grizzlies in the East.

    • padraighansen - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:27 PM

      It’s amazing to me how much Seattle fans (rightfully) complain about a team being taken from them, but yet are so quick to do the same to another market.

      The NBA wants to expand internationally, particularly in London or in Mexico City. While I absolutely agree that the league is watered down, the gravy train is way to valuable to contract. When the NBA expands again – and they will – Seattle and Kansas City (The Sprint Center is phenomenal) should get first dibs. Move to those two markets first…then go international.

    • scoocha - May 1, 2013 at 12:21 PM

      That’s what LBJ asked for and in this case you’re both completely right. NBA is superstar driven have more superstars on each team will improve the games immensely.

  7. circuscivics - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    “Herb Kohl reportedly has considered selling the team, but the guy is a Senator and a politician…”

    Herb Kohl is a FORMER senator. He has been out of the senate since the start of the new congress in January. The research is not that difficult, Kurt.

    • Kurt Helin - May 7, 2013 at 8:18 PM

      I know that, but he is referred to as Senator until he dies. Also, does that really change the thrust of the point that those guys do not screw over states?

  8. jprcox - Apr 30, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Seattle didn’t NOT support the team – we were railroaded. It would be like Hansen going out and buying the Kings first, and then making a false effort to keep the team in SAC, only to move it at the first possible point. When Clay bought the Sonics he wanted 1 result – to move the team to OKC.

    Had Clay proposed to buy the team before the move I believe the same thing would have happened as it did in SAC – and Seattle would have a great team today. Trust me, Clay was much more focused on moving the Sonics from day 1 than seeking a way to keep them in Seattle.

    • roeski - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      Haha, whiners. Go cry in your Starbucks. You should be mad at Howard Schultz.

    • padraighansen - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:22 PM

      I absolutely feel for the Sonics fans. I LOVE Seattle, and the Sonics belong in Seattle. However, everyone knew that Clay Bennett and Aubrey McClendon’s sole purpose in buying the Sonics was to move them to OKC.

      I understand that Sonics fans are pissed, and they should be…but they should be more pissed at Howard Schultz than anyone. He claimed ignorance after the fact – and a highly intelligent, uber-successful businessman shouldn’t try to sell the fact that he was duped so easily.

      This is a guy, after all, that has convinced most of America not only to pay $6 for a cup of coffee, but that it’s also a great deal. He’s not that stupid, folks.

  9. brewingtrouble - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Sadly, as a bucks fan, the team isn’t supported here either. And FYI Kohl is no longer a Senator but he does have other business interests in the state. That said, he probably could sell the Bucks at any point and move on from a failed experiment.

  10. slothrophth - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    The day of David Stern’s retirement cannot come soon enough. What does he have against Seattle? First he does everything he can to help Clay Bennett move the Sonics. Now he’s behind the scenes lobbying against Seattle, along with having none other than Clay Bennett in charge of the relocation committee. The first step in Seattle getting its team back is his Stern’s removal.

  11. kanemoney - Apr 30, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    The discussion around watered down team talents can be fixed with the contract and salary cap structure of the league. The NFL does just fine with this.

  12. asimonetti88 - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    What happens with Hanson and Ballmers non refundable deposit?

    The worst part about this, if Hanson had pulled a Clay Bennett and lied about his intentions, said he was gonna try to keep them in Sacramento, then been “unable” to reach a stadium deal, he would have the Kings. Only in Stern’s NbA can you be punished for honesty and rewarded for lying.

  13. rando74 - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    I do have all my facts straight. and believe whatever you want. the arena will get built and it won’t run the city into the ground it will male it a better city. read the proposal and get your own facts straight homie. the real story is the Maloofs tried to pull a fast one and now they’re looking like the idiots they really are. I’m not saying Seattle doesn’t deserve a team they do.just not ours.

  14. southpaw77 - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    1. Charlotte goes back to the Hornets. Fans come in droves back to the hive.
    2. Seattle didnt lose its team due to lack of fan support, they lost it because of their arena was outdated. Those are some of the best and loudest fans.
    3. New Orleans and Memphis get to keep teams yet play in front of spiders? Yeah, that makes sense.

    • uwsptke - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:28 PM

      To paraphrase “BASEketball”, I think they should give the “Lakers” back to Minnesota since there aren’t any Lakes in SoCal, while also giving the “Jazz” name back to New Orleans since I don’t think Utah allows music.

    • jprcox - May 1, 2013 at 11:53 AM

      I agree as to why the NBA wanted a different arena, but Key Arena isn’t as bad as most people would think. I would say its still one of the better arena’s in the league, but what the NBA wants is 5 floors of luxury boxes like Staples Arena.

      I had floor seats one-time at a Lakers/Sonics game and I remember one of the guys next to me complaining how all those luxury seats ruin the place since it places the fans behind glass. It obviously brings in the big $ though.

  15. uwsptke - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    “Milwaukee? That’s the top rumor but I don’t see that one either. Herb Kohl reportedly has considered selling the team, but the guy is a Senator and a politician — Senators don’t do things that piss off voters and screw over their own state like sell a high profile franchise to an out-of-state bidder. It’s not impossible, but it’s not likely at all.”

    Born and raised in Wisconsin, and not a fan of the NBA in general, but I had to point out that this is factually incorrect. Kohl retired, and his seat now belongs to Tammy Baldwin. In the past he definitely ran on the fact that he swooped in and bought the Bucks to keep them in Milwaukee, but he really doesn’t need to please voters at this point since his political career is behind him. If their current arena bid falls short, I could certainly see them as an option. The Milwaukee group will have outstanding leverage though, as there is an obvious buyer drooling over the opportunity to relocate the franchise if the arena falls through. Meh. I guess we sort of owe them for Seattle Pilots/Milwaukee Brewers 30 years ago.

  16. fatediesel - Apr 30, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Herb Kohl is no longer a Senator. He didn’t run for reelection in 2012 and his term ended early this year.

    • Kurt Helin - Apr 30, 2013 at 10:23 PM

      He is still referred to as the title of Senator. Until he dies. And I think the idea that once a politician always a politician applies.

  17. halfbaht - Apr 30, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    If you think Memphis have been playing in front of spiders then you obviously haven’t watched any of the playoffs, probably because you’re team didn’t make it! Seattle just need to wait for an expansion team just like Charlotte did.

    • southpaw77 - May 1, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      Fair weather fans. Why dont they show for the regular season?
      Memphis is 19th in home attendance, New Orleans is 29th and guess who 30th was, Sac-Town.
      Although I know they have fans, they just hate the Maloofs and thought they had a lame duck team.

  18. rickyspanish - Apr 30, 2013 at 7:20 PM


    Your city is already economically run into the ground. But hey, at least you can spend your welfare checks on tickets to see an awful basketball team.

  19. seahonky - Apr 30, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    Why should Sacramento build a new stadium now? I don’t they should. The town is broke.

  20. watermelon1 - Apr 30, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Take the Wizards! Simply so I don’t have to look at their stupid red/white/blue makeover anymore. And we can get the super sonic name back in the nba!

  21. rando74 - Apr 30, 2013 at 10:06 PM


    OK cool.

  22. jrazz22 - May 1, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    Stay classy Seattle fans. You lost your bid on a team that deserves to stay where it is and you in turn act like a bunch of whiny babies. Not all of you, but quite a few. I’d be upset over the fact that you lost the Sonics, especially considering the product that is on the floor in OKC, but that’s not Sacramento’s fault. Yet that’s where in reading some of the derogatory comments are directed. Pretty pathetic.

    Also, can you please explain how you know so much on the economics of Sacramento? I’m willing to bet you don’t have a clue.

  23. jm583 - May 1, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Maybe Oklahoma City could play an exhibition game once in awhile out in Seattle.

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