The NBA's relocation and finance committe has recommended against moving the Sacramento Kings to Seattle, multiple media outlets are reporting.
The recommendation came following a conference call Monday afternoon. The committee is made up of 12 NBA owners, including Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett.
The committee is expected to issue a final report to the other owners. That could take another five days. NBA owners cannot vote on the matter for at least another seven business days after that. NBA Commissioner David Stern has said he believes a final vote may not happen until the week of May 13.
Investor Chris Hansen, who leads the Seattle group, has a signed purchase agreement with the Maloof family to buy 65 percent of the Kings for $341 million, and a total valuation of $525 million. He then offered to raise that valuation to $550 million. Hansen has already paid the Maloofs $30 million, in the form of a down payment.
In Sacramento, Mayor Kevin Johnson has led an effort to put together a $441 million term sheet, passed by that City's council, that uses $258 million in public financing to build a new downtown Sports and Entertainment complex. Johnson and a group of investors led by Golden State Warriors owner Vivek Ranadive believe it could be enough to propel the league, and the Maloofs, to reject Hansen in favor of their "back-up" offers.
There have been conflicting reports about whether that group's bid was binding, and included a down payment.
Last week, the Seattle chapter of the ILWU signaled it has made a formal appeal of a judge's decision to dismiss the lawsuit it filed against Hansen. That lawsuit focused on the handling of the current environmental review for the Seattle Arena proposal, scheduled for completion in November.
A spokesperson for Seattle City attorney Pete Holmes says a response will come in June, with probable hearing in July. Holmes spokesperson Kimberly Mills wrote, via email, “The City believes it will prevail, again.”
Sports Law Expert Michael McCann, NBA TV contributor, and Director of the University of New Hampshire's Law Sports & Entertainment Law Institute says "I don't expect ILWU filing of an appeal to play significant role w/ NBA decision. Appeal was expected & appeals usually fail."
Under a Memorandum of Understanding between Hansen and local elected leaders, construction on the arena cannot begin until Hansen has secured and NBA franchise.
A pair of California attorneys are also threatening to sue over the Sacramento proposal.
The members of the NBA's joint relocation and finance committee include:
- Clay Bennett - Oklahoma City Thunder
- Jim Dolan - New York Knicks
- Wyc Grousbeck - Boston Celtics
- Ted Leonsis - Washington Wizards
- Micky Arison - Miami Heat
- Greg Miller - Utah Jazz
- Robert Sarver - Phoenix Suns
- Herb Simon - Indiana Pacers
- Larry Tanenbaum - Toronto Raptors
- Glen Taylor - Minnesota Timberwolves
- Peter Holt - San Antonio Spurs
- Jeanie Buss - Los Angeles Lakers
KING 5's Chris Daniels contributed to this report