NBA Sacramento decision not coming this week
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says he’s been told by NBA Commissioner David Stern a vote on the fate of the Sacramento Kings won’t happen this week. And an NBA spokesman has confirmed the delay to several outlets including The Sacramento Bee.
McGinn spoke with KIRO Radio following a news conference at KeyArena Tuesday, where he announced the city has reached agreement with investor Chris Hansen and his group to manage and invest millions in KeyArena if he is successful in his bid to buy the team and move it to Seattle.
“He said to me it looks like the process is going to extend beyond the 18th and 19th,” McGinn said of his recent phone conversation with Stern. McGinn said he updated the commissioner on the status of negotiations with Hansen and developments in siting and building a new arena in the Sodo neighborhood.
The news comes one day before NBA owners begin meeting in New York City to debate whether to approve Hansen’s purchase agreement with the Maloof family. It had been expected the owners would vote by the end of the week, but Stern had already said a decision could take longer.
“I was surprised because I thought once you got all the owners together there in one room they were going to be able to hammer that out and build consensus,” said NBA expert and former Sonics announcer Kevin Calabro in an interview with 710 ESPN’s Jim Moore and Dave Wyman.
“I would imagine their decision will be made in the next few days,” he said.
Calabro speculated the delay could indicate the NBA is considering granting either Sacramento or Seattle an expansion franchise, along with giving the owners a better chance to get to know the potential new owners in either city.
Even though Sacramento currently has the franchise, Calabro said he wouldn’t be surprised to see the league award the Kings to Seattle because its further down the road with a signed purchase agreement between Hansen and the Maloof’s and a new arena.
Under the deal announced Tuesday, which needs approval by the city council, Hansen would pay a minimum of $3 million in permanent investments for KeyArena, and guarantees $2 million in use fees annually. Hansen is expected to upgrade some seating and arena clubs, locker rooms, and arena technology.
The deal also calls for Hansen to pay an additional $750,000 to the city annually if a National Hockey League team is brought to KeyArena.
Hansen’s ArenaCo would take over KeyArena operations at the beginning of July 2013, until a new arena opens in the SoDo neighborhood in two to three years if he lands the NBA team.
The agreement with Hansen also calls for all current city employees at KeyArena to keep their jobs, including the structure of their respective unions, salaries, and benefits.
Also Tuesday, a bankruptcy judge in Sacramento awarded a 7 percent share of the Kings to Hansen for $15.1 million. The Sacramento Bee reports U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein said no one else had bid on the share of the Kings held by bankrupt developer Bob Cook.
“We have one bidder – we don’t know whether that bidder is acceptable to the NBA,” he said.
Hansen’s purchase is on top of the deal to buy a 65 percent controlling interest in the team from the Maloof family for $357 million.
Hansen voluntarily kicked in another $16 million on Friday, April 19 in a move that increased the total value of the bid by $25 million. While a Sacramento investment group seeking to keep the Kings downplayed it, KING 5 reporter Chris Daniels told 710 ESPN’s Bob and Groz Show Monday it’s a significant “shot across the bow.”
“It tells Sacramento ‘If you’re serious about this, just so you know, we’ve got money, we’re willing to spend it.'”