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Here They Vote: Decision Day for NBA Owners

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Click the LISTEN button to hear Ben's report from Dallas and Seattle sports reporter Art Thiel with some speculation about what may or may not come out of today's meeting (from Insight)
Sacramento or Seattle?  Of all the questions facing NBA owners about the future of the Sacramento Kings, this one is the most likely to be decided on today as the Board of Governors meet in Dallas.  The meetings started at about 11 a.m. PT.
But it's possible that not everything will be resolved today after all.
NBA owners are expected to hear presentations from the Sacramento and Seattle groups trying to buy the Kings.  Mayor Kevin Johnson and investors Vivek Ranadive and Mark Friedman will represent Sacramento.  And after that, the Board of Governors is expected to vote on whether to allow the Kings to relocate to Seattle.
This morning Kings co-owner George Maloof met with NBA Commissioner David Stern and an attorney from the NBA. The meeting took place in the atrium of the Hilton Anatole Hotel and lasted 45 minutes. Maloof declined to comment on the substance of the conversation, but did say he would talk "after the show."
The league's relocation committee has unanimously recommended a "No" vote on that question.  But a couple of late developments over the last week, including a sharply increased offer from the Seattle group, may have caused some owners to reconsider.
If relocation is approved, it's likely owners would then approve the sale to the Seattle investor group.  If not, then it's unclear what will happen.
Sacramento fans hope the Kings current owners, the Maloof family, will agree to sell the team to an investor group put together by Mayor Kevin Johnson.  That group has promised to keep the Kings in Sacramento and has reached a deal with the city to build an arena at the Downtown Plaza mall.
"People know we've been talking with the Sacramento group" as a backup, George Maloof told Capital Public Radio during a brief chat in the Dallas hotel's lobby Tuesday night.
But the league can't force the Maloofs to sell to the Sacramento group, even if relocation is denied.  And the Maloofs have spent the last few weeks raising questions about Sacramento's offer - even suggesting they won't sell to the Ranadive group.
Meanwhile, the Seattle group says it has a backup offer with the Maloofs to buy a minority stake in the team if owners reject relocation.  Under that scenario, which is not considered a likely outcome, the Maloofs and Seattle investors would negotiate in good faith with the city on a potential downtown arena.
George Maloof says his family is open to the team remaining in Sacramento - and remaining the team's owners.  He also says they're open to a downtown arena, though he hasn't seen the plan negotiated between Sacramento city officials and the Sacramento investor group.
Maloof says his family still loves Sacramento - even if Sacramento doesn't love them.
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