NBA heads defend Sacramento decision

May 1, 2013, 12:49 PM | Updated: 1:58 pm

NBA commissioner David Stern and his deputy Adam Silver are again defending the decision by the league’s relocation committee to block the Sacramento Kings’ move to Seattle.

Stern and his successor appeared Tuesday night on PBS’ “Charlie Rose Show”.

While Stern called the Seattle group a “perfect prototype for an NBA owner,” he credited Mayor Kevin Johnson with putting together a strong potential ownership group and arena package that led the panel of owners to recommend the Kings stay in Sacramento.

The owners voted 7-0 Monday to reject investor Chris Hansen’s effort to move the team to Seattle. The full Board of Governors is set to vote May 15 and is expected to formally reject the move.

“I think some people are surprised at the preliminary decision the relocation committee has made,” Silver said. “They say, ‘Look at Seattle – there’s more corporate headquarters, there’s more TV households, there’s the potential to generate more revenue there. Shouldn’t you move a franchise to the market where there’s more revenue?'”

“And our response is, ‘Not necessarily, that if you look at total value over time, and brand building, and community support, and that continuity is important,'” Silver added.

Hansen hasn’t issued any further comment since vowing Monday in a statement on his website to continue fighting the recommendation.

Meantime, Reuters reports a source close to the Hansen and the Maloof family – the majority owners of the Kings who have a signed agreement with the Seattle group – says they are considering a new strategy to convince NBA owners to approve his purchase of the team, even if they reject the relocation of the Kings.

The move could require Hansen to work with the city of Sacramento, but give him the opportunity to apply to move the team to Seattle if Sacramento fails to come through with a new arena in a timely fashion, or attendance remains low.

It’s a strategy that could work, according to David Carter, a professor of sports business and marketing at the University of Southern California.

“It allows the NBA to have a strong exit strategy,” Carter said. “They’ve done everything they could to protect a home market, but if it doesn’t perform, they’ve protected themselves.”


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NBA heads defend Sacramento decision