Archive for the ‘ Seattle SuperSonics Blog ’ Category

City officials reached a preliminary agreement Saturday night for a new downtown arena with an investment group that hopes to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson first announced the deal on his Twitter account. A few hours later, the city released the details of the non-binding term sheet.

The group includes Silicon Valley software tycoon Vivek Ranadive, 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov and billionaire Ron Burkle. The City Council is planning to vote on the agreement Tuesday.

“Once again, we’re proving the strength of our market — both as host to an NBA team, but as an emerging region with global potential,” Johnson said.

The city of Sacramento plans to contribute $258 million to the $447 million project, mostly by leasing out parking garages and land. The other $189 million will come from the investment group.

– Reported by the Orange County Register

The effort to keep the Sacramento Kings from moving to Seattle got a boost from a Silicon Valley software tycoon who stepped forward as lead investor.

The Sacramento Bee reports that Vivek Ranadive will lead Sacramento’s bid to keep the team, joining health-club financier Mark Mastrov and billionaire Ron Burkle.

Ranadive’s involvement comes after NBA Commissioner David Stern said earlier this month that the Sacramento group’s offer needed to be increased before league owners would consider it.

– Reported by the Associated Press

The prospective owner of the Sacramento Kings is calling on fans in Seattle to sign up for a “priority ticket waitlist” as a way to show the NBA how much interest there is in bringing pro basketball back to the area.

Chris Hansen made the announcement on his SonicsArena.com website on Monday. It was his first statement since the announcement of the sale of the Kings from the Maloof family to Hansen and Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer on Jan. 21. Hansen and Ballmer have a signed agreement to acquire a 65 percent stake in the Kings for $341 million from the Maloofs. That sale is pending league approval.

“In addition to helping us understand and prioritize the demand for tickets, registering your interest will be a critical step in demonstrating to the NBA and basketball fans around the country the unbelievable passion that exists in the Emerald City to BRING BACK OUR SONICS!” Hansen wrote.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Last week, a triumphant Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announced a potential Kings purchase group had submitted a fair and competitive offer to keep the team in town. Friday night, NBA Commissioner David Stern said no, not quite.

Speaking to the news media before a Golden State Warriors game in Oakland, the commissioner delivered a bombshell, saying a Sacramento group’s counteroffer to buy the team does not measure up in dollars to a tentative deal the Kings recently signed with a group that hopes to move the team to Seattle.

“The counter bid has got very strong financial people behind it, but it is not quite there in comparison to the Seattle bid,” Stern said. “There is a substantial variance.”

The commissioner declined to say how far short the Sacramento bid fell of the reported $341 million Seattle offer for a 65 percent share of the team.

– Reported by Tony Bizjak, Dale Kasler and Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee

The public relations campaign to keep the Kings in town continued today with a blast from the franchise’s past.

Former Kings star Mitch Richmond greeted a few dozen fans at midtown’s Firestone Public House, signing posters and hats. Richmond has pledged $1 million to be part of a local ownership contingent seeking to block the Kings’ move to Seattle.

“It would be a sad day if the Kings leave this community,” Richmond said. “I know Seattle is a good place, I think Seattle’s team (the Sonics) should have never left. But we want our team here.”

– Reported by Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union says it intends to appeal a judge’s ruling that threw out their lawsuit aimed at undoing a deal to build a new professional basketball and hockey arena in Seattle - a key part of plans to bring the NBA back to town.

The ILWU says it will announce appeal plans during a news conference on Tuesday. The ILWU Local 19, representing workers at the Port of Seattle, says they believe the court failed to acknowledge that the memorandum of understanding between investor Chris Hansen, the city of Seattle and King County is in violation of the state environmental protection act.

– Reported by the Associated Press

For more than a year, Southern California grocery tycoon Ron Burkle and his business associates have pursued a plan to build a new arena in Downtown Plaza to cement the Kings’ future in Sacramento.

On Thursday, that interest finally burst into the open. Standing on a stage at the Memorial Auditorium in front of 3,000 cheering Sacramentans gathered for his State of the City address, Mayor Kevin Johnson announced that Burkle and 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov were teaming up on a bid to buy the Kings and construct an arena at the site of downtown’s lagging open-air mall.

The bid for the team, which will be filed with the National Basketball Association today, will serve as Sacramento’s counteroffer should the NBA board of governors next month reject the Kings’ deal to move the franchise to Seattle.

While the amount of the Burkle and Mastrov bid was not revealed Thursday, the mayor said it would be “very strong and competitive.” Seattle hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer have a binding agreement with the Maloof family to buy the Kings in a deal that values the franchise at $525 million, or about $341 million for the 65 percent they control.

A source familiar with the Mastrov offer said it’s expected that the NBA will look over the proposal and forward it to the Maloofs, who have the right to “entertain” other offers as backups in case the NBA rejects the Seattle bid. Beyond that, the process isn’t quite clear.

– Reported by Ryan Lillis, Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee

A judge tossed out a lawsuit that could have seriously disrupted Seattle’s plan for a new NBA-ready arena.

Sacramento officials weren’t putting much stock in the lawsuit and are relying instead on their own proposal to secure the Kings.

Hours after the judge’s decision, Sacramento City Manager John Shirey said he was encouraged by preliminary talks last week on arena financing with a group of wealthy investors who want to keep the Kings in town.

In a potential stumbling block for Sacramento, the investors at first asked if the city could contribute more than the $255 million it pledged to an arena deal last spring, Shirey said. City officials didn’t present a counteroffer but, at a second meeting two days later, explained the details of the arena package approved by the City Council in March.

That second meeting “went well,” Shirey said. “They had a greater appreciation for what had been offered last year.”

– Reported by Dale Kasler, Ryan Lillis and Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee

robert swift

Former Seattle Sonic Robert Swift made a reported $20 million during his NBA career, but things haven’t gone as well for the first-round draft pick in recent years.

Swift lost his home to foreclosure, but apparently refuses to leave.

“And it seems like a very sad story and I definitely feel for him,” said the new owner, who wanted to hide her identity.

She thought she knew what she was getting when she bought the foreclosed home in January.

Cans of beer dot the grass outside the home. A bullet hole pierced the garage window at some point.

“Cars that don’t look like they’ve moved in a long time,” she noted.

Water festers in buckets outside of what was once a million dollar home in a wealthy Eastside suburb.

– Reported by Jon Humbert of KOMO News

sacramento kings

As he prepares to head to Houston this weekend to lobby the NBA’s team owners to keep pro basketball in Sacramento, Mayor Kevin Johnson said he is getting “very close” to revealing the deep-pocketed investors he has recruited to make a pitch to buy the franchise.

Those investors - along with a plan for a new downtown arena - would be the foundation of Johnson’s argument to the NBA to block a deal the Kings’ owners have to sell the franchise to a group that would move the team to Seattle in time for the 2013/14 season.

Johnson said he is working against a March 1 deadline to secure those investors and an arena plan. That date is the deadline for a team to file for relocation, which the Kings did last week.

The mayor is expected to make his pitch to the league’s Board of Governors - made up of team owners - in New York in mid-April.

– Reported by Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee

sac kings

With one more procedural move, the Sacramento Kings took another step toward Seattle.

NBA Commissioner David Stern said Wednesday night that the Seattle group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, which recently reached an agreement to purchase the Kings, has formally filed for relocation with the league.

Stern spoke in Minneapolis before the Timberwolves hosted San Antonio. He called the Seattle group ”very strong,” and said the appropriate committees have been convened to look over the proposed sale of the Kings and the prospective move.

Stern said the relocation proposal calls for the team to play in KeyArena for ”two years, possibly three,” while a new arena in Seattle is being built.

”We have had submitted a signed agreement to have the team sold to a very strong group from Seattle,” Stern said. ”We have received an application to have the team moved from Sacramento to Seattle.”

The deadline for teams to file for relocation is March 1. It’s been expected that the Hansen/Ballmer group would file to move the team, but Stern’s comments were the first time that decision had been verified. The filing for relocation is just another step, but big in the efforts to bring professional basketball back to Seattle for the 2013-14 season.

– Reported by Tim Booth of the Associated Press

Fight to keep Kings in Sacramento continues

Billionaire Ron Burkle and Bay Area investor Mark Mastrov are in serious discussions to team up on a bid to buy the Sacramento Kings and partner with the city of Sacramento on a plan to help finance a new downtown sports arena, The Bee has learned.

A source familiar with the negotiations told The Bee that Burkle and Mastrov are both committed to keeping the team in Sacramento and building the Kings into a contender. The teaming of Burkle and Mastrov is seen by city officials as a “dream team” counter offer to the group that this week agreed to buy the Kings and move the franchise to Seattle, the source said.

Burkle, who owns the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, has been mentioned by both Mayor Kevin Johnson and NBA Commissioner David Stern as a potential suitor of the Kings. Mastrov, the founder of the 24 Hour Fitness chain, made an unsuccessful bid to buy the Golden State Warriors in 2010 and until now had been the only person to publicly express interest in buying the Kings and keeping them here.

– Reported by Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee (Blog)

The only thing stopping the Sacramento Kings from a sale and move to Seattle is approval by NBA owners.

The Maloof family has agreed to sell the Kings to a Seattle group led by investor Chris Hansen, the league confirmed in a statement Monday morning. The deal is still pending a vote by the NBA Board of Governors.

A person familiar with the decision said that Hansen’s group will buy 65 percent of the franchise for $525 million, move the team to Seattle and restore the SuperSonics name. The Maloofs will have no stake in the team.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was waiting approval.

The sale figure is a total valuation of the franchise, which includes relocation fees. Hansen’s group also is hoping to buy out other minority investors.

The Maloofs will get a $30 million non-refundable down payment by Feb. 1, according to the deal, the person said. They will still be allowed to receive other offers until the league approves the sale.

The plan by Hansen’s group is to have the team play at least the next two seasons in KeyArena before moving into a new facility in downtown Seattle. The deadline for teams to apply for a move for next season is March 1.

– Reported by Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is taking his fight to keep the Kings in California’s capital city to NBA owners.

Again.

Speaking at the annual State of Downtown breakfast on Tuesday, Johnson said he has received approval from NBA Commissioner David Stern to present a counteroffer to the league from buyers who would keep the team in Sacramento. He said the city is in a ‘’six-week sprint” to put together a proposal for the NBA’s Board of Governors to consider over a potential sale and relocation to Seattle.

The league’s deadline for teams to apply for a move for the next season is March 1, though that has been extended each of the last two years for the Kings. And both times, Johnson - a former NBA All-Star - has convinced the league that Sacramento could help fix the franchise’s financial woes and secure its long-term home in a new arena.

”We want this to be the final act of a saga that’s gone on for far too long,” Johnson said.

People with knowledge of the situation said last week that a group led by San Francisco-based investor Chris Hansen, who wants to return the NBA to Seattle, has contacted the Maloof family about buying the Kings. They spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because no deal has been reached.

– Reported by Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press

The family that owns the Sacramento Kings wants to maintain a say in how the team is run if they sell it to Chris Hansen, creating a possible snag in the sale negotiation, an NBA source told The Seattle Times.

The Maloof family has owned the team since 1998, and brothers Joe and Gavin have been particularly involved and visible presences in the franchise since day one.

An initial Yahoo! Sports report on the sale, since confirmed by others, is that the family would retain a small percentage in the team. But the question now, according to the source, is whether that percentage also would allow the Maloofs some say in how the team is run.

The source said it goes beyond dollars and cents and stressed how important being involved in the NBA has been to the family.

– Reported by Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times

Seattle investor seeking to buy Kings

Investor Chris Hansen has contacted the Maloof family about buying the Sacramento Kings, setting up the possibility of the NBA’s return to Seattle.

Hansen’s interest was confirmed Wednesday by people with knowledge of the situation. They spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because no deal has been reached.

One person said the Kings could sell for more than $500 million. The Kings’ future in Sacramento has been uncertain because the Maloofs and the city haven’t been able to come up with a long-term arena solution.

Yahoo! Sports first reported the discussions between the Kings and Hansen. Yahoo! reported a possible sale could land the Kings in Seattle for the 2013-14 season where the team would play at KeyArena as a temporary home until a new arena is constructed.

”I know as much as you do,” Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said when asked about the situation. ”If it’s true, ain’t it cool?”

His counterpart in Sacramento thought the news anything but cool. At an afternoon news conference, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said Wednesday was significant because for the first time Kings fans know the team is for sale. Johnson said he would do all he could to try to find a buyer with a Sacramento connection to possibly purchase the team and keep it in California’s capital city.

– Reported by Tim Booth of the Associated Press

supersonics

Years after losing the SuperSonics to Oklahoma City, Seattle may be getting an NBA team back.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports via Twitter, “the Maloofs are finalizing an agreement to sell the Sacramento Kings to the Hansen-Ballmer led Seattle group, sources tell Yahoo! Sports. The deal will sell the Kings for approximately $500 million, with the Seattle group seeking relocation to Key Arena for the 2013-’14 season. The Seattle group’s plans, with support of the NBA, is to play two seasons in Key Arena before moving into a new Seattle arena, sources say. The Maloofs are expected to keep an extremely small percentage of team, but will have no real input or say in franchise, sources say.”

More coming shortly.

Between now and his departure, Stern is determined to get a franchise back into Seattle, league sources said. He has become a strong ally of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s group to bring back the NBA there. Ballmer’s group has been trying to get the Maloof family to sell the Sacramento Kings, so that the franchise can eventually play in a new arena in Seattle.

From the league office, pressure on the Maloofs to sell has been growing, sources said – just as hopes for a new Sacramento arena have been fading. Seattle Sonics fans will never forgive Stern for his complicit role in Clay Bennett’s deception to move that franchise to Oklahoma City, but make no mistake: Stern desperately wants to return the NBA to one of its great markets and wants it for his own measure of vindication before he leaves office.

As one source involved in the process said, “Stern has enough time to get a team back to Seattle, but he’ll let Silver deal with the crowd [booing] on opening night.”

– Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports

A new stadium in Seattle designed for NBA and NHL teams will continue to move forward after the City Council and Metropolitan King County Council voted to support a Memorandum of Understanding for investor Chris Hanson’s proposed $490 million stadium.

The stadium will include $200 million in public funds, and Monday’s vote is seen as the next step in the road to building the venue.

The biggest of which is obtaining a current NBA franchise, because the league has no plans to expand.

There is also now a 21-day window for legal challenges, and at least one is expected from the local Longshoreman Union, according to the Seattle Times.

– Reported by the Sports Xchange

Seattle City Council OKs arena deal

A wealthy hedge-fund manager won approval Monday for his plan to bring professional men’s basketball and hockey back to Seattle, with initially skeptical City Council members agreeing to put up $200 million for a new arena after he promised to personally guarantee the city’s debt.

Council members voted 6-2 to approve Chris Hansen’s plan for a $490 million arena near the Seahawks and Mariners stadiums south of downtown.

“I was a skeptic when this came forward because I was worried about our taxpayers,” said Councilwoman Sally Bagshaw. “The fact that we have a personal guarantee from Mr. Hansen … that makes a big difference.

“At the end, we’re going to have something the city is proud of.”

– Reported by the Associated Press

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