NBA Board of Governors votes to keep Kings in Sacramento


As expected, the NBA Board of Governors have voted against moving the franchise to Seattle, David Stern confirmed.

The NBA's Board of Governors voted against the sale and relocation of the the Sacramento Kings franchise to a Seattle ownership group led by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, David Stern confirmed Wednesday. In order for the franchise to relocate, a majority vote was required, and the outcome was expected.

"We will talk to the Maloofs and seek, in the next 24 to 48 hours, whether we can help facilitate an agreement to be signed between the [prospective Sacramento ownership group led by Vivek Ranadive] and the group for the sale of the franchise in Sacramento," Stern said in a press conference televised on NBATV.

The NBA's relocation committee on April 29 unanimously recommended that the league not move the Kings from Sacramento. Members of a finance committee -- also composed NBA owners -- upheld that belief.

The vote against relocation was 22-8.

In a separate vote, support from three-fourths of the Board of Governors were needed to approve a sale. ESPN's Marc Stein reports representatives of the 30 NBA teams were also against the sale to the Seattle-based group.

Now it's a matter of whether the current Kings owners, the Maloof family, will be willing to sell the team to the Sacramento-based group led by Ranadive. They had an agreement in place with the Seattle group and had been adamant about seeing the original deal through.

Though the Maloof family has only been negotiating with the group led by Hansen and Ballmer, co-owner George Maloof told the Sacramento Bee he's never said he wouldn't consider doing business with the Ranadive-led group of bidders, should the Seattle possibility fall through. Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson also said he has no reason to suspect the Maloofs wouldn't be willing to reach an agreement.

Johnson, a former NBA point guard, has led the charge to keep the team in town. The Sacramento-based group headlined by Ranadive, a tech executive, countered the Seattle group's offer of $341 million to buy 65 percent of the franchise. Sources told the Sports Business Journal that Ranadive's group made several concessions to the NBA before the relocation committee meeting. The biggest was offering to limit the Kings' shared revenue intake that is given to small-market teams, and the Sacramento group also reportedly promised to completely cut ties from the revenue-sharing program once the franchise moved into the proposed downtown arena.

Since, the Seattle group upped the bid of the 65-percent share to $406 million -- that would make the total valuation of the franchise a record $625 million.

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