Ever since the NBA's relocation committee voted 7-0 against relocating the Sacramento Kings, things have been relatively quiet on the Seattle front, aside from a statement by Chris Hansen that he would see this transaction through to the end and that they would consider all their options.
It appears their gameplan has been revealed. In a statement today on his website, Hansen announced that the Seattle group has raised their bid on the team from a franchise valuation of $550 million to $625 million. This is the second such increase after first raising their bid from $525 million to $550 million after it was reported the Sacramento group led by Vivek Ranadivé would match. In terms of real dollars, this latest increase represents an increase of almost $50 million.
Hansen didn't stop with an increased bid however, also stating that the group has guaranteed to the NBA that they will be a Revenue Sharing Payer every year in Seattle including the time spent at Key Arena. He also reiterated some talking points about how the Seattle Arena Project is further along than Sacramento's.
He closes his statement by saying
While we appreciate that this is a very difficult decision for the league and owners, we hope it is understood that we really believe the time is now to bring the NBA back to Seattle, and that it is paramount that we do everything we can to put Seattle's best foot forward in this process.
This is a strong play by the Seattle group but it is probably for naught. As was revealed by the leaked Micky Arison Twitter Messages, the NBA doesn't consider this a vote about Seattle, but rather about Sacramento and whether or not they have done everything to keep their team. Nothing on that front has changed.
The NBA Board of Governors will meet next Wednesday in Dallas to vote on this issue. Hopefully in the end there can be two winners in this saga, with Seattle getting an expansion team.
We will update with news and reactions as they come in.
Mayor Kevin Johnson released this statement to the Bee shortly after the news of the bid increase:
"The NBA leadership and owners have always said that their decision would not be dictated by a bidding war," the mayor said in an emailed statement. "This was always about whether Sacramento, a community that has supported the NBA for 28 years, can put together a plan and organization to ensure the franchise can rebuild and thrive. The ownership group, the city, and the community have shown the NBA, without any shred of doubt, that the Sacramento Kings belong in Sacramento.
"I believe the NBA owners realize that there is far more to think about than just an increased bid. They know what this story means to the league. We look forward to talking with all of them again in Dallas."
Also, from Seattle's Jon Humbert: