NBA Commissioner David Stern said Wednesday night that the group that has reached agreement to purchase the Sacramento Kings has formally filed to relocate the franchise to Seattle. Stern spoke in Minneapolis before the Timberwolves hosted San Antonio. He called the Seattle group, led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, “very strong,” and said the appropriate committees have been convened to look over the proposed sale of the Kings and the prospective move to Seattle.
The deadline for teams to file for relocation is March 1. It’s been expected that the Hansen/Ballmer group would file to move the team, but Stern’s comments were the first time that decision has been verified. Hansen’s group reached agreement with the Maloof family last month to buy 65 percent of the franchise, which is valued at $525 million, and move the team to Seattle and restore the SuperSonics name. The deal will cost the Hansen group a little more than $340 million.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has been making efforts to find investors with the financial means and could attempt to match the sale price, keep the Kings in Sacramento and help on the construction of a new arena in California’s capital city.
Stern said he didn’t feel the situation between Seattle and Sacramento would turn into battle to see who can make the most lucrative bid.
Stern also said Wednesday he thinks the NBA is on track to begin testing its players for human growth hormone, perhaps as early as next season. He said the league is watching developments in the NFL and Major League Baseball as they try to address testing for HGH. He said if both leagues get approval to test players, as he expects them to, the NBA will be right there behind them.
Pau Gasol was diagnosed with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot Wednesday, indefinitely sidelining the 7-foot Spaniard at a key point in the Los Angeles Lakers’ belated rally to get in playoff position. Gasol felt a pop in his foot Tuesday night late in the Lakers’ 92-83 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. An MRI in Boston revealed the injury. … Center Andrea Bargnani was set to come off the bench for the Toronto Raptors for the game against Boston, ending a 26-game injury absence. The top pick in the 2006 draft, Bargnani has not played since tearing a ligament in his right elbow in a Dec. 10 loss at Portland. The 7-footer also injured his right wrist in that game when he fell awkwardly on a dunk attempt. … Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders sat out against the Utah Jazz with a bruised back. Coach Jim Boylan said a bone scan indicated Sanders didn’t have any structural damage from the nasty fall he took Tuesday night against Denver.