For the second time in five years the NBA fans of Seattle feel like they had a team ripped away from them. This time it came when the NBA’s Board of Governors voted to reject the relocation of the Kings to Seattle. That essentially killed the bid of the Chris Hansen/Steve Ballmer group to buy the team and make them the Sonics.
Hansen put up a statement on SonicsArena.com (the site his team put together during this process).
While we are obviously extremely disappointed with today’s relocation vote and truly believe we put forth both a significantly better offer and Arena plan, we do thank the league and the owners for their time and consideration and look forward to hearing back on our agreement to join the Maloofs as Limited Partners in the Kings.
But most of all I would like to thank everyone in Seattle who has been a part of our effort and supported our cause. Words simply can’t express how much your support has meant to me personally and to our City.…
Our day will come…and when it does it will just be that much sweeter for the struggle. I love you Seattle!
That limited partner offer is never going to happen — the other owners are not going to reject a relocation bid then let the guys bent on the relocation prop up bad owners for a couple of years by buying 20 percent of the team, all in a long-play to force a sale and relocation later. Stern said the league would push for a sale to the Sacramento group put together by that city’s mayor Kevin Johnson. That is how this ends.
So now what does Seattle do?
Wait. And pray for expansion.
Which sucks. But it’s the only options available.
Wait because there is nothing else in the short term for them to do.
“We look forward to continuing the dialogue of some type with the citizens and potential owners in Seattle but we don’t have anything concrete to support with respect to an NBA franchise in Seattle at this time,” David Stern said at his press conference.
There are no teams up for sale that can really be moved out of their market right now. The most likely option may be Milwaukee and their lease lasts to the summer of 2017 (with the goal of having an arena, or at least the plan for it in place by then). That’s four years away. Maybe something comes up before then, maybe not.
What a lot of people have called for is expansion.
Both Stern and commissioner-in-waiting Adam Silver (who will take over for Stern next February) said was that the owners talked about it generally but said they would not discuss it seriously until a new national television deal is in place.
The league hopes to open talks and get a new national television deal set this summer (even though it wouldn’t kick in until 2016).
Which means maybe in a year the owners might take up the expansion discussion again. Then there are no guarantees.
It sucks for Seattle.
There was no way Stern could phrase what he had to say Wednesday that would take the sting away from Seattle — but it didn’t help that the first words out of his mouth at the press conference were “This is going to be quick for me, I have a game to get to in Oklahoma City.” It felt like another punch to the gut.
Silver said the league wants to get back to the Seattle market. That opportunity will come down the line, by either expansion or a team up for sale that can be moved, but we are talking likely years either way.
After the last two dealings with the NBA, the question is will there be the political and community will to but together another quality bid? Will Hansen and others be up for another round?
That’s not a question anyone can answer right now with emotions high.