Richard Drew Associated Press

NBA Commissioner David Stern, right, with Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, speaks Friday in New York.

NBA officials defend choice of Sacramento over Seattle

Published: Wednesday, May. 1, 2013 - 9:39 am
Last Modified: Thursday, Jun. 20, 2013 - 3:38 pm

The NBA's top two executives defended the relocation committee's recommendation to block the Sacramento Kings' move to Seattle, even as they acknowledged Seattle's strengths as an NBA market.

Commissioner David Stern and his successor, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, made the comments late Tuesday in a wide-ranging interview on the "Charlie Rose Show" on PBS.

The league's relocation committee voted 7-0 Monday against moving the Kings to Seattle. The full Board of Governors is set to act May 15.

"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.

Stern, who is retiring next February, noted that Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson organized a group to make a counter-offer for the team. In his pitch to NBA officials, Johnson stressed Sacramento's 28 years of loyal support for the league, including 19 years of sellouts.

Stern said the Seattle investors, including hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, represent "the perfect prototype for an NBA owner."

Hansen has vowed on his website to fight the recommendation at the Board of Governors' meeting.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett told The Business Journal in Milwaukee on Tuesday that the NBA's recommendation to block the Kings' move has placed more urgency on his city to build an arena. Media in Milwaukee have speculated that the Bucks could be targeted by Hansen and Ballmer if the Sacramento deal is denied.

"We need to be pro-active and get the Bucks to stay here," Barrett told The Business Journal's Rich Kirchen.

According to The Business Journal, both the Bucks and the NBA have said the team will leave Milwaukee after the 2016/17 season "unless a new arena is built" to replace the 25-year-old BMO Harris Bradley Center. So far, there has been little movement to construct a facility in that city.

Call The Bee's Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.

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