February 17, 2013
David Stern: Owners will decide Kings' fate
By THE SPORTS XCHANGE

NBA Commissioner David Stern speaks at a news conference before the All Star slam dunk competition during the NBA basketball All-Star weekend in Houston, Tex., Feb. 16, 2013. (REUTERS/Jeff Haynes)

National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern believes that Sacramento has a chance to keep the Kings but that is ultimately up to the team’s owners.

The Maloof family has an agreement in place to sell the Kings to a group that will move the team to Seattle and rename it. Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, however, has said a counteroffer to keep the team in Sacramento is being put together.

Stern, who spoke to reporters Saturday at All-Star Weekend in Houston, said he is not meeting with Johnson. The Sacramento mayor is trying to convince league owners to consider a competing bid to sell the Kings to owners who would keep them in Sacramento.

“We have been advised by Mayor Johnson ... that Sacramento will be delivering to us a competitive bid to the one we have received from Seattle,” Stern said.

Johnson said he anticipates a competing bid before March 1 and an already-approved arena financing deal.

The Seattle group, led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, agreed to buy the team and have it play in Key Arena starting next season while a new arena awaits approval.


“That’s a key variable, and I think that gives us a competitive advantage,” Johnson said. “... That’s a key reason why, unfortunately, a team left Seattle and why teams do leave, because you can’t get arena deals done.”

The Seattle Sonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008 after failing to get a new arena.

Stern said he does not have a vote so where the Kings wind up is not in his hands.

“The owners are going to have a tough issue to decide,” he said. “... I don’t see any scenario where both cities are happy.”

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