NBA owners vote in Dallas to keep Kings in Sacramento

Posted Wednesday, May. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The Kings are staying in Sacramento.

The question remaining is who will be the club’s new owners.

Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks and the other 29 NBA owners had a long meeting Wednesday at the Hilton Anatole and voted 22-8 to follow the relocation committee’s recommendation and keep the Kings in Sacramento and forbid them from moving to Seattle.

The Sacramento contingent, led by Mayor Kevin Johnson and prospective future owner Vivek Ranadive, was overjoyed that the Kings will not be moving to the Pacific Northwest.

“Let me just say we are really excited to be from Sacramento today,” a jubilant Johnson said. “We know clearly that the team is staying in Sacramento, and that is good news for our community.

“I just want to take a moment to thank our fans, our community. You kept us in this game day in and day out, so one big thank you to you folks in Sacramento.”

NBA Commissioner David Stern seemed resigned to the fact that if the negotiations were like comparing apples to apples, then there was no reason for the Kings to leave Sacramento.

“Let me say that the Seattle presentation was brisk, firm, excellent and reflects the efforts that have been put into this and, I think, the extraordinary ownership group that they have put together,” Stern said. “At the conclusion, though, the committee voted and recommended to the board and it was adopted, that if the Sacramento community could produce a site, a construction team, a financially strong ownership group, and the kind of support by the city and the region that Mayor Johnson has galvanized, then the appropriate outcome was to keep the team in Sacramento, and that’s what they did.”

While Sacramento beat out the Chris Hansen-led Seattle group for the Kings, the Johnson-led group still has to negotiate a deal to purchase the franchise from the Maloof family, which previously had been involved in contentious negotiations with the city. The Johnson group hopes to have a deal in place within 48 hours, but that’s not a guarantee.

George Maloof, one of the Kings’ owners, even said he may be willing to hang onto the Kings and stay in Sacramento for another season.

“Yeah, that’s possible,” Maloof said. “There’s no pressure [to sell the Kings].”

Maloof then pulled a stunner by saying there’s a possibility he could sell the Kings to Hansen, with Hansen keeping the Kings in Sacramento.

Would the NBA owners approve such a wild proposal?

“It’s up to the owners — it’s not up to me,” Maloof said. “I can pick who I want to sell it to, but it’s up to the owners [to approve it.]”

Asked if he’s been allowed to sell the Kings to whomever he wants, Maloof said: “We’ve never been pressured not to. It’s been a fair process, a very fair process.”

The process followed many months of heated negotiations, ending with Sacramento on top and with the Kings expected to build a new arena in downtown Sacramento.

“I think the mayor has done a great job, and I think Vivek Ranadive did a great job, and I think the city council of Sacramento did a really wonderful thing in terms of expressing on behalf of the region the support for this project,” Stern said. “It is my expectation that we’ll be able to make a deal with the Maloofs and the Ranadive group to transfer title of the team in Sacramento.

“It’s not a certainty, but we’re going to work on that result.”

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice

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