SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson urged Chris Hansen on Tuesday to move on in his quest for the NBA's Kings.
Speaking before reporters during a regularly scheduled weekly news conference, Johnson at first dismissed a suggestion Hansen could own the team in California's Capitol City.
"I don't think that's likely. It's not a scenario that we're planning for. We have an ownership group that's fully committed to keeping the team in Sacramento and we think at the end of the day, that's what is going to happen," said Johnson.
Johnson was then asked by a reporter if he was surprised by Hansen's "stubbornness.”
The mayor replied: "Let me try to put myself in his shoes, ‘cause that's all I can do, I don't know him. Um, if I was in Seattle, I'd be fighting like crazy to keep the team. I would. I would be doing everything I could to keep the team. But once the relocation committee spoke as loud and as clear as it did, I would probably take a step back and understand that I'm probably not gonna get this team. So how can I put Seattle, Ballmer, Hansen, the Nordstrom family and anyone else from Seattle in the best possible position to get a team going forward. I would take the high road, and I'd be gracious. That's what I would do."
The NBA's relocation committee unanimously rejected the Kings request last week to relocate to Seattle for the next league season. Observers widely viewed it as a major blow to Hansen's effort to bring a team back to Seattle. Hansen has already issued a statement vowing he will not stop fighting to follow through on his transaction.
The NBA's Board of Governors is expected to vote next week on the Seattle group's purchase agreement and relocation request.
The Sports Business Journal reported Monday that a Sacramento group, led by Vivek Ranadive, had pledged to forgo any revenue sharing payments if the team stayed in Sacramento. A source close to the Hansen/Ballmer group said Tuesday the Seattle group has made a similar pledge, and does not expect to receive any money if the team moves.