According to the New York Times, a unanimous vote by the NBA Relocation Committee has shot down a proposal to move the underdog Sacramento Kings to Seattle. The vote, though not binding, now moves forward as a recommendation to the NBA Board of Governors.
I have been covering this drama for @hoopshabit over the course of the last month and it was my opinion, that once the NBA delayed the vote on the sale and relocation of the team, it was a signal that the tide had turned to the underdog Sacramento investment group to keep the team in California’s capital city. On Monday, April 29, Sacramento Mayor–and former NBA All Star–Kevin Johnson @KJ_MayorJohnson tweeted:
I’ve never been prouder of this city. I thank the ownership group, city leaders, but most of all the BEST FANS IN THE NBA!!!
— Kevin Johnson (@KJ_MayorJohnson) April 29, 2013
The fate of the Kings now rests with the NBA Board of Governors, which has up to seven business days to review the recommendation of the committee before voting begins. According to NBA.com, the league’s owners will likely vote the week of May 13. However, since the committee that voted unanimously Monday was made up of 12 owners, it is unlikely that anything will change. It takes a majority vote of 16 of the league’s 30 owners to ratify a move.
The chances of the Kings moving to Seattle are all but over in a bit of a comeback story headed by Johnson and his investment group. One thing that needs to be worked out, however, is whether or not the current majority owners of the Kings, the Maloof family, will sell the team to the Sacramento investment group. The Maloofs had a binding agreement, contingent on the NBA Board of Governors ratifying the sale, with the Seattle group. However, they do not have a binding agreement with the Sacramento group and could, potentially, sit on the team.
The state of the Sacramento Kings is still foggy. The team is in need of major overhaul from top to bottom. They have unhappy owners that are not going to be too thrilled about this latest vote and can hang on to the franchise out of spite. The top player, DeMarcus Cousins, is a major talent but has the temperament of a bad Eric Roberts character. To boot, the head coach has not shown an ability to manage his players, let alone win.
The Kings, however, have cleared the first, and most important hurdle in this race to get back to playoff contention. The city of Seattle, that already had a terrible taste in their mouth once the SuperSonics bolted for Oklahoma City, are left shaking their heads and reeling from the uppercut the other league owners have dealt them in their quest to have an NBA franchise to call their own.
According to David Stern in his interview on NBA.com, there is no real discussion of any expansion for the league. A league with an odd number of teams would not make any sense and the league owners are not going to be thrilled with cutting another slice out of the pie.
Regardless, for now, the city of Sacramento and the fans of the Kings can exhale. Despite the lean times, the loyalty of the fan base of the Kings remains strong. It is one of the only franchises to ever have retired a number to honor their fans. The Kings retired the number 6, in honor of their “Sixth Man.” the fans.
The next move in this chess game is up to the NBA Board of Governors. For the time being, however, it looks like “check.”