Good news, Seattle fans. David Stern wants to make up for standing by and watching your Sonics move to Oklahoma City. And according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, not only does Stern want to make up for it, he’s in fact “determined” to put a franchise back in Seattle before he retires in 2014.
According to Wojnarowski, Stern has become a close ally with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his group who are trying to bring back a franchise to Seattle. But since the league can’t create just an expansion team in Seattle, an existing team would have to move there. And which team do Ballmer and Stern have their eye on? You guessed it, the Sacramento Kings.
Ballmer’s group has been trying to get the Maloof family to sell the Sacramento Kings, so that the franchise can eventually play in a new arena in Seattle.
From the league office, pressure on the Maloofs to sell has been growing, sources said – just as hopes for a new Sacramento arena have been fading. Seattle Sonics fans will never forgive Stern for his complicit role in Clay Bennett’s deception to move that franchise to Oklahoma City, but make no mistake: Stern desperately wants to return the NBA to one of its great markets and wants it for his own measure of vindication before he leaves office.
As one source involved in the process said, “Stern has enough time to get a team back to Seattle, but he’ll let Silver deal with the crowd [booing] on opening night.”
That sounds all well and good, but the Maloofs obviously don’t want to sell. They’ve made it perfectly clear that they either want a new building or they want to move the franchise themselves.
Maybe the Maloofs, Stern, and Ballmer’s group can work something out in the long run. But as of now, it looks like the only way the Kings get to Seattle is if the Maloofs move them there.