Seattle is one step closer to getting their beloved SuperSonics back. NBA commissioner David Stern has confirmed that the Seattle investment group that purchased the team has filed relocation papers and that they will be approved. Last month, an investment group from Seattle led by Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer agreed to purchase the Sacramento Kings from the Maloof family for over $500 million.
The fully intended from the beginning to relocate the Kings from Sacramento to Seattle, pending league approval.
“We have had submitted a signed agreement to have the team sold to a very strong group from Seattle,” Stern said before the Timberwolves-Spurs game on Wednesday. “We have received an application to have the team moved from Sacramento to Seattle.”
While Stern seems excited to get the NBA back in Seattle, the fight to keep the Kings in Sacramento hasn’t ended. Before the Kings relocation can be approved, the Board of Governors must hear the pleas of the city of Sacramento as they desperately try to cling to their team. Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson is trying to find local investors that will pool together funds to outbid the Seattle group and purchase the Kings.
“My guess is it’s likely that the mayor of Sacramento will appear before the board with an alternate plan,” Stern said. “And that’s why we have a board of governors, to make difficult decisions like this one.”
However, while the city of Sacramento is planning on finding investors to pony up the funds to outbid the Seattle group, Stern said he doesn’t anticipate things getting into an uncontrollable bidding war. In fact, Stern doesn’t expect a bidding war at all.
“I don’t think it’s a bidding war,” Stern continued. “There’s a series of issues that are defined by our constitution that have to be considered. One of the things that our board is mandated to consider is the support for the team in the prior city. So there are real issues for the board to consider, about the buildings, about the likelihood they will be built, about the support from the cities.”
The city of Sacramento will meet with the NBA Board of Governors sometime before mid-April to propose their plan to keep the Kings local.