If the Sacramento Kings are going to remain in Northern California, then the news of the Seattle-based Chris Hansen-led group’s filing for relocation will make such aspirations particularly challenging.
According to ESPN, NBA commissioner David Stern announced on Wednesday night that the Hansen group formally filed for relocation with the league. The plan would have the team play in Key Arena for the next two or three years while a new arena project is constructed in Seattle.
“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.”
It’s the next formal step in what seems to be inevitable at this point after the city of Sacramento and Kings’ stakeholders have worked tirelessly to keep their team home to no avail. The strength and determination of the Seattle group coupled with the NBA’s blessing have made things difficult for California’s capital city, as a funding plan could never be finalized that could compete with the Pacific Northwest.
Still, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is not going quietly into the night and is displaying the same resilience that made him a three-time All-Star. He responded on Twitter shortly after the news broke.
“We know that with an ownership partner both to Sacramento and an arena plan already supported by the city and NBA, Sacramento is ready to show what a great one-team market can be, should be, and is,” Johnson said in his post.
The deadline for teams to file for relocation is March 1, and it’s the first tangible step toward the SuperSonics’ return to the NBA.