|David Stern says the NBA has received a relocation application. (Getty Images)|
MINNEAPOLIS -- After submitting an application to transfer ownership from the Maloof family to the Hansen-Ballmer group in Seattle, the potential new owners of the Kings' organization have filed for relocation, according to NBA commissioner David Stern.
“The latest with the Seattle-Sacramento situation," Stern said in a press conference before the Minnesota Timberwolves took on the San Antonio Spurs, "is that we have submitted a signed agreement for the team to be sold to a very strong group from Seattle, we have received an application to have the team moved from Sacramento to Seattle, I have convened the appropriate committees and told them as we get more information and more data, we will be sending the information to them because they will have to be making a recommendation to the board, which will likely decide the issue -- both as the sale and move in April at our board meeting.
"And the mayor of Sacramento has advised that he will be back to us soon with a proposal from a group to buy the team in Sacramento and build a building in Sacramento with a substantial subsidy from the city of Sacramento."
Stern is visiting the city of Minneapolis as the city and the Minnesota Timberwolves help finalize a renovation deal to update the Target Center to a more modern feel. The goal is to keep the arena in downtown Minneapolis at a high enough standard so the Wolves can avoid a situation like the Sacramento Kings and the former Seattle SuperSonics have dealt with recently.
Key Arena in Seattle was deemed unfit to keep the Sonics in Seattle years ago, and gave Clay Bennett enough leverage to relocate the Sonics to Oklahoma City and rename them the Thunder. Now? It would be the new home to the Kings if the transfer of ownership and relocation applications are approved in the next two months.
"The Seattle application is to play in Key Arena, which would be there probably for two years, possibly three," Stern said. "There is no final approval with respect to a new building in Seattle but events are well underway, moving in that direction. So they don't currently have a building but they propose to improve Key as a temporary facility while one is being built.
"And my guess is it's likely the mayor of Sacramento will appear before the Board with an alternate play. And that's why we have a Board of Governors. To make the decision.”
The relocation committee and the committee overseeing the potential transfer of ownership both have to come to an ultimate decision for the NBA Board of Governors to let the Sacramento Kings become the Seattle SuperSonics, assuming the Hanson group will do what's expected and bring back the Sonics' name to the city of Seattle. And David Stern has set up the process so that both committees will have to agree for anything that severe to occur.
"The application to transfer ownership requires a three-quarter vote," Stern explained, "and the application to move requires a majority vote and so I did the sensible thing; I combined the two committees and said 'you guys figure it out.' And we'll see how that works.”
The Board of Governors' meeting will happen in April.