Stern: 'The real winner here is Sacramento'
The NBA Board of Governors voted 22-8 in favor of keeping the team in Sacramento. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
The NBA Board of Governors voted down the relocation bid to move the Kings to Seattle Wednesday in Dallas, Commissioner David Stern confirmed. The vote was 22-8 in favor of Sacramento retaining the franchise.
"The real winner here is Sacramento," Stern said.
Had the Kings moved to Seattle, they would have been rechristened the SuperSonics.
For now, it's unclear which ownership group will take command of the Sacramento franchise.
[RATTO: Sacramento wins battle, but war may not be over]
Investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer have had a deal since January to buy a 65 percent controlling interest in the Kings from the Maloof family. Hansen originally offered a total valuation of $525 million, then increased that offer to $550 million after a competing Sacramento group matched his deal. He hoped to move the team to Seattle to replace the original Sonics, who were relocated and renamed the Thunder in 2008.
After months of staying quiet and letting the process play out, the Hansen and Ballmer group went on the offensive following the NBA relocation committee's decision on April 29 to recommend denying the move.
The Hansen and Ballmer group elbowed its way back into the conversation using money and creativity.
It started last week when Hansen increased his total valuation of the Kings from $550 million to $625 million. Hansen also announced on his website that he has guaranteed owners that the franchise would pay into the league's revenue-sharing system if it was in Seattle and not collect money as it has in Sacramento.
On Saturday, word leaked of a backup deal with the Maloofs to purchase a minority interest in the Kings with the Maloofs remaining the controlling party. The limited partnership would be a purchase of at least 20 percent of the Maloofs' stake in the franchise at a valuation of $600 million, but the Hansen/Ballmer group would retain a two-year option to purchase majority control.
They were bold and aggressive moves by the Seattle group. And for fans, they were a needed boost.
"If they had folded, we would have folded," Robinson said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report