Recapping Sacramento’s Meeting With NBA, David Stern & Relocation Committee


April 20, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson addresses the media court side during halftime between the Sacramento Kings and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Power Balance Pavilion. The Thunder defeated the Kings 103-92. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

For Sacramento and Seattle, today was a day filled with nervousness and optimism. The two opposing ownership groups were in New York to meet with NBA Commissioner David Stern who was flanked by the NBA’s Relocation and Finance Committees, hoping to show why they should be, or in Sacramento’s case, continue to be, the home of the Kings franchise.

Seattle, who presented first also met the media first after their presentations to the NBA concluded, which included two press conferences – one from a group which featured Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Exec Dow Constantine and one from prospective owner Chris Hansen. Both pressers were quiet in nature – not negative, just very business oriented and straight to the point. Hansen’s presser was the quicker of the two, lasting only a few minutes with many questions being directed to the NBA or a no comment.

For Sacramento, who like Seattle presented for about an hour and a half, it was a completely different press conference mood which featured Vivek Ranadive, Mayor Kevin Johnson and Senator Darrell Steinberg (Mark Mastrov eventually joined in the final few minutes). Unlike Seattle, which had a more stoic and business-like nature, Sacramento’s was upbeat and jovial, even comical as the media and potential ownership group shared a few laughs.

As to what took part in the Sacramento press conference, here’s a small recap of some things said, which began with Mayor Kevin Johnson clapping as he entered the media room:

  • KJ started off saying he’s excited and proud. That he had an A team who brought their A game.
  • Mayor  says “we were allowed to tell our story. We think it was a compelling story.”
  • KJ says that they talked about Burkle’s “proven-ness” with Pittsburgh and owners appreciated it along with is presentation of arena which he and Ron Burkle presented.
  • Johnson cited the one team market, strength of fan base, market being profitable with different revenue streams. Talked about city investment in the potential arena.
  • Mayor Johnson brought up India and China as major markets, said Vivek and Stern had conversation on it and Stern’s trip there next week.
  • Vivek claimed the team put together an amazing and unbelievable performance and applauded the fans for their support throughout all of this.
  • Ranadive also said that the NBA gave them a very fair hearing. Said they were excited where they are. Senator Steinberg chimed in that they got “Sacramento’s best case here.”
  • Senator Steinberg says he’s “on a cloud” but he’s not sure what the outcome will be.
  • Steinberg says they were able to explain very clearly that Sacramento and California is prepared to do whatever it takes to avoid delay for arena.
  • Darrell Steinberg: “There is only one fair and right way for this to conclude.”
  • When questioned if they had raised their offer from the original offer, Ranadive responded: “We feel like our offer is very, very good. I think all our stakeholders were pleased with the offer we made.”
  • Kevin Johnson on George Maloof being in the room during presentation (The Maloof family sat in on both Seattle and Sacramento meetings): “It was something we all welcomed.”
  • “This team here answered every one of the owners questions.” – when asked if they felt the collection of owners felt confident in their answers.
  • KJ says we did this before – did everything the NBA asked, went above and beyond – and we’ve done it again. What else can they ask of Sacramento?
  • Mayor says that “NBA said both sides did a good job and they’re going to continue to deliberate.”
  • KJ says the left it all on the floor
  • Mayor Johnson says it is CRITICALLY important that arena is built on time (for Sacramento and Seattle) and KJ felt that owners body language showed confidence in Sacramento’s ability to do so.
  • Johnson says owners asked general questions about market, says they kept their arguments focused on Sacramento and didn’t say anything negative about Seattle and simply compared numbers.
  • Sacramento’s ownership group calls its vision to keep the team where it is “NBA 3.0”, citing the steps the NBA has took and how it’s time to turn it into the global sport, like Soccer.
  • Suggestions from Cowbell Kingdom’s Jon Santiago say that a source in room during Sacramento’s presentation described Maloofs’ demeanor as “open and receptive”.
  • Mayor “We were told all along that the Maloof family could accept another offer, a backup offer” and that we would get “full consideration”.
  • Vivek cited crowd-sourced video put together and says he along with Mark and Ron are beyond impressed and thankful for Sacramento fans. Mark Mastrov, who was not present on the three-man presser panel made his way in for the final moments and gave a small speech before the parties departed.


After the Seattle and Sacramento press conferences concluded, David Stern (who appeared either famished or beyond tired) and Adam Silver opened the NBA presser:

  • Stern opened (wearing a purple tie – TIEGATE1!1!!1) with “We don’t have a lot to say but feel we should say something.”
  • He added – “We heard a day full of extraordinary presentations. Both sides made very, very, strong presentations.”
  • When asked if the committees were satisfied, either way, he said “There are questions that the committee has asked us, the staff, to get answers on”
  • Stern said the committee concluded this was quite complex.
  • Stern also said he will have another meeting with committee before BOG meeting.
  • Stern: “It is not at all clear what our timeline is from here.”
  • Doesn’t have a timeline for this ending – just wants the correct answer and it very well may not be settled at BOG meeting in two weeks.
  • Concluded with they’ve never had a situation like this – called it a “weighty” decision. Said each of the owners understands that and said each owner will form their own opinion. Also said post-presser that Sacramento needing to improve their offer is “not one of the issues“.

Needless to say, it was an incredibly taxing day for all parties involved which seemed to create more questions than answers. The fact that the BOG’s may not have a decision prior to their Spring meeting only added to the frustration in both cities as both were hopeful for a resolution soon.