(1090 The Fan) – A committee of NBA owners voted unanimously Monday to deny the application of the Sacramento Kings to move to Seattle.
The unanimous vote likely ensures the franchise will stay in California’s capital city. The move also means that the new ownership group led by Vivek Ranadive and 24-hour Fitness co-founder Mark Mastrov is set to be approved.
The committee, made up of 12 owners, voted down the Maloof family’s proposed sale of the Kings to hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who planned to move the team to Seattle. The Maloof family has had an agreement since January to sell a 65 percent controlling interest in the Kings to Hansen’s group.
The vote is likely a strong blow to Hansen’s plan of building a new $490 million arena for professional basketball and hockey in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood.
The committee’s recommendation will undoubtedly be influential to the full Board of Governor’s May 13 vote; Hansen’s group needs 23 of 30 owners’ votes to get control of the team.
Shortly after the news broke, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson tweeted his excitement (seen below):
The mayor also commended Seattle for its effort and wrote that the Pacific Northwest city “no doubt deserves a team in the future.”
The efforts of Johnson and Sacramento-based support groups helped to organize a massive grassroots campaign that eventually brought in the money to make a competitive offer to keep the team in Sacramento.
It’s unclear what the next step is for the Maloof family, which is not bound to sell the team to a Sacramento group Johnson has put together. In a letter sent to the relocation and finance committees, the Maloofs said they preferred to sell to the Seattle group and expressed discontent with Sacramento’s latest bid.
Spokesmen for the Maloof family and Hansen had no immediate comment on the committee’s recommendation.
-Chris Coyle, 1090 The Fan
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