NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Kings set to stay in Sacramento after NBA committee unanimously rejects relocation

The Sacra­men­to Kings are going to stay in Sactown.

In a short state­ment issued a lit­tle bit ago, the Nation­al Bas­ket­ball Asso­ci­a­tion revealed that its Relo­ca­tion Com­mit­tee has unan­i­mous­ly vot­ed to rec­om­mend rejec­tion of the Kings’ appli­ca­tion to move to Seattle.

(The Kings are cur­rent­ly owned by the Mal­oofs, who struck an agree­ment to sell the team to a group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer back in January).

The NBA’s full Board of Gov­er­nors (con­sist­ing of the league’s exist­ing own­ers) will meet on May 13th to con­sid­er the mat­ter. The board is expect­ed to adopt the Relo­ca­tion Com­mit­tee’s recommendation.

The rejec­tion of the appli­ca­tion does not mean that the Mal­oofs have to sell to the own­er­ship group orga­nized by Sacra­men­to May­or Kevin Johnson.

How­ev­er, if they want to sell the fran­chise and cash out, they don’t appear to have any oth­er options at this point.

The deci­sion is a defeat for the Mal­oofs (who tried to sell the team to an own­er­ship group that want­ed to move it away out of spite) and for Chris Hansen, whose ambi­tion col­lid­ed with the deter­mi­na­tion and per­sis­tence of the denizens of Sacra­men­to, led by May­or Kevin John­son, him­self a for­mer NBA player.

John­son laud­ed the rec­om­men­da­tion with a series of tweets con­grat­u­lat­ing Sacra­men­to and applaud­ing the enthu­si­asm of fans in Seattle:

That’s what I’m talk­ing about SACRAMENTO!!!!! WE DID IT!!!!!

— Kevin John­son (@KJ_MayorJohnson) April 29, 2013

I’ve nev­er been proud­er of this city. I thank the own­er­ship group, city lead­ers, but most of all the BEST FANS IN THE NBA!!!

— Kevin John­son (@KJ_MayorJohnson) April 29, 2013

I want to take my hat off to Seat­tle. You’re a great city,had a great pro­pos­al, unbe­liev­able fans & no doubt deserve a team in the future.

— Kevin John­son (@KJ_MayorJohnson) April 29, 2013

5:00PM @fire­stonepub­lic! Be there!

— Kevin John­son (@KJ_MayorJohnson) April 29, 2013

Kings fans react­ed on Sac­town Roy­al­ty, a lead­ing Sacra­men­to Kings fan blog, with jubi­la­tion and con­tempt for the Mal­oofs. (And that might be an understatement).

“The sec­ond I saw the news go up on Twit­ter, I start­ed bawl­ing all over my com­put­er,” one fan wrote. “A glo­ri­ous moment and I’d just like to wave as the Mal­oofs walk away and con­tem­plate how they failed at fail­ing a city.”

“If any­thing, in the end, I thank Hansen for tak­ing the Mal­oofs out of our lives,” said anoth­er, con­tem­plat­ing the vic­to­ry. “In real­i­ty, with­out him, we wouldn’t be where we are today, feel­ing the way we do today.”

A few self-pro­fessed Son­ics fans joined in the cel­e­bra­tion as well.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled for Sacra­men­to Kings fans,” a fan styling him or her self as Uni­ver­sal­Gu­ru wrote. “You are a tes­ta­ment to true fan­dom and an exam­ple of what every fan­base should strive to achieve.”

“I hope that Kings fans will sup­port Seat­tle in their effort to rejoin the NBA (hope­ful­ly through expan­sion),” Uni­ver­sal­Gu­ru added.

“Con­grat­u­la­tions are not enough to describe how you must feel. I know, because it’s the antithe­sis of what we went through in 2008. I know that I’ll be root­ing for you dur­ing the 2013–2014 season.”

That last com­ment sums up our sentiments.

We at NPI would like to see men’s pro­fes­sion­al bas­ket­ball return to Seat­tle, but only through an expan­sion fran­chise. That’s why we’re very glad that Sacra­men­to has suc­ceed­ed in its efforts to keep the Kings. All of our oth­er pro teams (Mariners, Storm, Sounders, Sea­hawks) tru­ly can be called home­town teams, because they start­ed play in Seat­tle and have always belonged to Seattle.

Had Chris Hansen suc­ceed­ed in his efforts to take Sacra­men­to’s team and bring it here, it would not have meant the return of the Super­Son­ics. It would have meant the trans­for­ma­tion of the Sacra­men­to Kings into the Seat­tle Kings. It would have meant that Seat­tle would have stolen anoth­er city’s team, just as the Son­ics were tak­en from Seat­tle five years ago by Clay Ben­nett and his henchmen.

The NBA would now be wise to award Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer an expan­sion fran­chise. In Hansen and Ballmer and the Nord­stroms, the league has an enthu­si­as­tic own­er­ship group who are pas­sion­ate about bring­ing the NBA back to Seat­tle and have forged a part­ner­ship with Seat­tle May­or Mike McGinn and King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine to make it happen.

McGinn and Con­stan­tine both depict­ed their resolve and enthu­si­asm as unchanged despite the NBA’s rec­om­men­da­tion against the relocation.

“I’m proud of how Son­ics fans have ral­lied togeth­er to help Seat­tle get a team,” McGinn said. “We’re going to stay focused on our job: mak­ing sure Seat­tle remains in a posi­tion to get a team when the oppor­tu­ni­ty presents itself.”

Con­stan­tine agreed.

“I’m dis­ap­point­ed, but unde­terred in our quest to bring NBA bas­ket­ball back to the Pacif­ic North­west. Today’s deci­sion does­n’t mean this effort is over. From what I saw at the pre­sen­ta­tion in New York, Chris Hansen and his team have made the supe­ri­or offer and the best pure busi­ness case for the NBA to return to Seattle.”

“We have a doc­u­ment­ed fan and busi­ness base ready to step for­ward when the time comes. We are patient, but deter­mined. I look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing our work with the Hansen group to return NBA bas­ket­ball to the major media mar­ket and loy­al fans of Seat­tle, King Coun­ty, and Wash­ing­ton State.”

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