Board of governors rejects motion to move franchise to Seattle, but hint at eventual return.
The NBA board of governors rejected a planned move of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle, voting instead to keep the franchise in Sacramento.
“This was not an anti-Seattle vote, it was a pro-Sacramento vote,” commissioner David Stern said of the 22-8 vote by the league’s club owners.
A group led by Seattle investment manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer had worked out an agreement in January to buy 65 percent of the team from the Maloof family.
Hansen’s group were looking to relocate the team to Seattle, but an NBA committee recommended in April the league try to stop the proposed move and the board of directors backed that up.
Stern said the Maloofs have the right to maintain ownership of the team instead of selling it. He added it’s likely the Maloofs will strike a deal to eventually transfer ownership to businessman Vivek Ranadive.
Seattle lost its NBA team, called the SuperSonics, to Oklahoma City in 2008 and they have since been renamed the Thunder.
Adam Silver, the NBA’s deputy commissioner, said the league hopes to return to Seattle one day.
“The league continues to enjoy strong support in the Seattle market,” Silver said. “We are confident we will return there one day.”