After the NBA’s relocation committee unanimously voted on a recommendation to keep the Sacramento Kings in their current location (per NBA.com, via AP), the city of Seattle’s prospects of earning the franchise and reforming the SuperSonics look slim.
Just got off the phone with Steve Ballmer.He is "horribly, horribly disappointed" in this news.— mitch levy (@kjrmitch) April 29, 2013
However, Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer—the two men spearheading the relocation for their Seattle-based ownership group—must not give up their efforts and continue fighting over the next few weeks.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst is reporting that all 30 of the league’s current owners are slated to meet on May 13, when they will officially vote on whether or not to allow the Kings to leave Sacramento.
Because the Maloof family and the Hansen-Ballmer group still plan to go through with the sale for a majority share of the franchise, it could just be a matter of time before the winds of change sweep through.
Hansen was clearly upset by the committee’s findings and made a pledge on SonicsArena.com on Monday, promising supporters that his ownership group would work relentlessly to find a resolution that results in the Sonics returning to the Seattle.
After highlighting the numerous reasons why relocation is the best option for the Kings, the hedge fund manager concluded things with a stirring message:
When we started this process everyone thought it was impossible. While this represents yet another obstacle to achieving our goal, I just wanted to reassure all of you that we have numerous options at our disposal and have absolutely no plans to give up. Impossible is nothing but a state of mind.
Since the Kings have consistently ranked near the bottom of the league in attendance for the past five years and the city of Sacramento has yet to put a stable arena option in place, Seattle is clearly the better option of the two.
While it will certainly hurt supporters of the current organization, relocation will be better for the overall health and business of the NBA in the long run.
The new ownership group seems committed to putting a winning product on the floor, whereasit appears Vivek Ranadive—part-owner of the Golden State Warriors and favorite to purchase the Kings if the league owners vote against Hansen-Ballmer (per Windhorst)—just wants to keep the team in place for the sake of doing so.
Where will the Kings wind up playing for the long haul?
Should the Board of Governors be able to see the long-term benefits of bringing back the Sonics and winds up changing course to allow the original sale to go through, it would be a major victory for the league and the city of Seattle.
Unfortunately, the odds are long and the road ahead tough, but Chris Hansen, Steve Ballmer, the rest of the ownership group and SuperSonics fans have to continue fighting and relentlessly campaign to sway the opinion of the remaining NBA owners.
They’ll need 75 percent of the vote to accomplish this, but pro basketball in Seattle is still in the realm of possibility.