George Maloof tells NBA owners he wants to 'move forward' with Seattle
The Seattle contingent made its case to a joint committee of 12 NBA owners on Wednesday that the league should approve the sale and relocation of the Sacramento Kings. But the words that weighed most heavily on the proceedings came from the mouth of Kings owner George Maloof.
NEW YORK -- The Seattle contingent made its case to a joint committee of 12 NBA owners on Wednesday that the league should approve the sale and relocation of the Kings. But the words that weighed most heavily on the proceedings came from the mouth of Kings owner George Maloof.
Maloof was among those who addressed the owners during an approximately hour-long presentation on behalf of the proposal to sell the team to Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, who would move the franchise to Seattle.
"He simply reiterated what is the public information, which is he has an agreement with Chris Hansen and his partners for the sale of the Maloofs' interest in the team," King County Executive Dow Constantine said. "... After owning that interest for so many years, it was just from a personal perspective as a fan of the NBA, touching to hear them talking about their long involvement with the league going back to his parents."
The committee of owners wanted to "dig into the details" of the agreement between the Maloofs and the group led by Hansen and Steve Ballmer, Constantine said, and also wanted assurances of continued political support for a new arena financing plan.
Hansen gave what Constantine characterized as a "characteristically energetic presentation" about the merits of Seattle as a destination for the NBA.
"All the pieces are in place," said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, who characterized the city's quest to build a new arena as having a "two-to-three-year timetable. ... It's a different day in Seattle than it was a few years ago. We got together and put together an arena deal and built a coalition of support that I think is pretty sturdy."
Hansen said he was not inclined to dwell on the way that Seattle lost the SuperSonics to Oklahoma City in 2008. Whether the owners feel the same way remains to be seen.
"You don’t get anywhere in life looking backwards and dwelling on things that have gone wrong," Hansen said. "... Sometimes maybe you have to lose something that you hold precious and dear to really realize how much it means to you. I think that’s the way I feel, and I think that’s the way a lot of people in our community feel."
The Sacramento group was up next, led by its team of four proposed equity partners -- Vivek Ranadive, Mark Mastrov, Ron Burkle and Paul Jacobs -- as well as Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. In response to the Maloofs' agreement to sell the team to the Seattle group, Johnson has spearheaded efforts to assemble an alternative ownership group that would keep the team in Sacramento -- in a new downtown arena for which the Sacramento City Council passed a financing plan last week.
Despite George Maloof's desire to go ahead with the Seattle transaction -- one more kick to Sacramento's gut as the future of the city's only pro sports team hangs in the balance -- there is a provision that would allow the Maloof family to accept what is described as a "backup offer," a league source with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com. The provision is one of the reasons why Johnson has been so optimistic that the city would be able to stave off the team's proposed departure for the second time in three years.
Owners on the combined relocation and advisory committees considering the issue are Clay Bennett (Thunder), James Dolan (Knicks), Wyc Grousbeck (Celtics), Peter Holt (Spurs), Herb Simon (Pacers), Larry Tanenbaum (Raptors), Glen Taylor (Timberwolves), Ted Leonsis (Wizards), Mickey Arison (Heat), Jeanie Buss (Lakers), Robert Sarver (Suns) and Greg Miller (Jazz).
The full Board of Governors is scheduled to meet April 18-19 to decide the issue.
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