Stern said it’s going to be a heartbreaking decision regardless of which city will get the team next season. He admitted that it’s the first time in the past 47 years that he doesn’t really know what the answer to the problem should be. He added that the whole situation has been quite confusing and difficult for all of those involved. Adam Silver, the deputy commissioner of the NBA, said the deadline has been extended due to legal reasons and the importance of the decision.
Silver said the league would have preferred to resolve the issue in a shorter time frame, it isn’t about to take any shortcuts during the process. Hansen’s group agreed to buy control of the team in January and the paperwork to relocate the franchise was filed. Hansen plans on calling the team the SuperSonics and will play their home games at the city’s KeyArena. However, they also plan on building a brand new arena for the club.
Former NBA player Kevin Johnson, who is also the mayor of Sacramento, has put together a group that desperately wants to keep the franchise in their city. They are also planning on building a new arena for the team. Stern said he’d love to have a basketball team in both cities, but the NBA won’t be expanding to 31 teams to accommodate them. He hasn’t ruled out expansion in the future, but said it’s not something that’s on the current agenda.
The league will continue to look over both bids as well as the proposals for new arenas and where the funding will come from. The Maloofs’ said they don’t see eye to eye with the group from Sacramento and would like the NBA to approve the sale to the Seattle investors. A minimum of 23 franchise owners need to approve selling the team to Hansen’s group and 16 of them need to vote for relocation.
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