The Seattle group that purchased the Sacramento Kings has filed for relocation.
The group, led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, recently purchased 65 percent of the Kings for $340 million. NBA Commissioner David Stern said Wednesday that the group has officially filed for relocation.
The move, if successful, would return basketball to Seattle after the Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. The new Seattle team intends to re-name themselves the Supersonics.
According to ESPN, the move would require the new Supersonics to play in Key Arena for a maximum of three years while a new arena is built.
Stern expects Sacramento to present a plan to keep the Kings to the league before when it review the Seattle group’s relocation proposal.
NPR reports that Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has been trying to court investors with the money to keep the Kings in Sacramento. It has been rumored that one of those investors may be Bay Area billionaire Larry Ellison.
About Johnson’s attempt to keep the Kings, Stern says:
“My guess is it’s likely that the mayor of Sacramento will appear before the board with an alternate plan. And that’s why we have a board of governors, to make difficult decisions like this one.”
He then warns he is not looking to start a bidding war between Sacramento and Seattle:
“I don’t think it’s a bidding war. 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.”
With the official announcement that the Seattle group has filed for relocation, do you think Sacramento can stop the move?
[image via Wikimedia Commons]