NBA Officially Votes Down Relocation

Via Kevin Fippin (@kfippin)

The threat of the Kings leaving for Seattle is seemingly over as the NBA Board of Governors voted down the proposed relocation to Seattle by a 22 to 8 margin.

It's a beautiful day.

The NBA Board of Governors rejected the proposed relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle by a substantial 22 to 8 margin. Afterwards, NBA Commissioner David Stern and his deputy Adam Silver answered questions regarding the decision.

  • Stern said that while the Maloof Family does not yet have an agreement signed with the Sacramento group led by Vivek Ranadivé, the NBA would "talk to the Maloofs within the next 24 to 48 hours to see if we can facilitate an agreement". Stern would not elaborate as to a deadline but did say he would like to get it done as soon as possible. He also affirmed that the Maloofs have the right to retain ownership of the team and not sell, but it was his "expectation" that a deal between the Maloofs and the Ranadivé group would happen.
  • Stern reiterated that this was not a vote about Seattle but rather one for Sacramento. In his words, there was an "advantage to the incumbent" after the Mayor and Vivek Ranadivé group were able to put forth a compelling offer and arena deal to keep the team in Sacramento. Stern also made a big point to applaud the actions of the Sacramento city council. He also applauded Mark Friedman's presentation on the arena deal.
  • On what exactly was voted on. The NBA voted on relocation but that "effectively ended" the Seattle bid as well. The "backup bid" was not on the table because there were no signed documents to that effect. Stern also confirmed that the NBA did take Seattle's increased $625 million offer into consideration for their vote. Sacramento's offer remains at $525 million.
  • Both Stern and Silver made a point of praising everything the Seattle group has done, and also called reports that Hansen-Ballmer's increased offer rubbed the league the wrong way "an invention of the Twittersphere". On expansion, Stern said there was a "general conversation" regarding it, but again saying how it would have to wait until a new television deal was negotiated.
After the press conference, the Sacramento media caught up with George Maloof. Maloof said that he "respected the decision" and that they will not consider legal action. He called the process "fair" and said "If it has to turn out this way, it's fine". He claimed his loyalty to Chris Hansen was because he stepped up first, and that the family wanted to sell to a local group but "nobody stepped up". Maloof also confirmed that any deal with Chris Hansen is over at this point. He added that there was "no pressure to sell" and that he would take the next day or two to speak with his brothers. He also said that he had spoken with the Ranadivé group.

This is wonderful news, and while it's not completely over until the team is officially sold, it's still worthy of celebration.

We will update this post with the Sacramento Group/Mayor Johnson's reaction when it occurs.

HERE. WE. STAYED.

UPDATE 4:45 PM:

We have reaction from the Sacramento group as well as news that another investor has joined the group, Raj Bhathal. Bhathal led an unsuccessful attempt to buy the New Orleans Hornets in 2012 and our very own Tom Ziller wrote about him. Vivek says Bhathal will "spearhead our international aspirations". He also said "even on our way here, we had calls from people who wanted to be a part of this"

The Mayor was joined by Vivek Ranadivé and Mark Friedman for his press conference. Both the Mayor and Ranadivé confirmed that the Sacramento group had put 100% of the purchase price in escrow. In Ranadivé's words "They asked us to put 100% in escrow yesterday, so we put 100% in escrow yesterday". Ranadivé also seemed very confident that an agreement could be reached with the Maloof family, and he along with the Mayor were very complimentary towards the Hansen-Ballmer group. Friedman talked a little bit about the new arena and how it could be "truly transformational for our community". Also on the arena front, the Mayor says owners asked if Sacramento could deliver. In response, the Mayor says "We had great answers that they felt good about".

UPDATE 5:50 PM:

There was some confusion regarding a statement made by David Stern that Sacramento had put $240 million in escrow when it was believed $341 million was needed in escrow. Ryan Lillis offers the clarification on Twitter:

"On Vivek's offer to buy the Kings:

Stern said over $200 million placed in escrow, which is 100% of what would go to Maloofs. $200 million is based on 65% percent of $525 million valuation. Ranadivé would absorb NBA line of credit and Sleep Train loan, so take that $ from $341 million.

Point is, Maloofs would have seen 100% of $525 million valuation offer in escrow from Ranadive group. But there's more: Ranadive has shown the NBA he has additional $40 million to run the franchise, which is key. So as Stern said, he secured $240 million for offer."

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