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April 29, 2013

Relocation vote on Sacramento Kings a stunner if you recall Charlotte precedent

    I’m stunned an NBA relocation committee voted unanimously to recommend against the sale and move of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle.

            This is certainly not how things worked in 2002 under similar circumstances with the Charlotte Hornets. Back then Ray Wooldridge and George Shinn were no more popular among the other owners than the Maloofs are now. New Orleans wasn’t nearly as solid a landing spot as Seattle would be this time.

            Yet the Hornets were allowed to exit Charlotte, and the only thing Charlotte got was an indication from commissioner David Stern that an expansion team could be in the offing. Eventually, after some tough negotiations on an uptown-arena deal, the Bobcats came to be in 2004.

            I got to know many people in the NBA power structure through covering the arena mess and here’s what most of them said: No matter how unsavory Woodridge/Shinn might have been, no matter how healthy an NBA market Charlotte was, owners always side with owners.

            Owners side with owners out of fear someday they’ll be the ones leveraging a city for a new arena. The less portable a franchise appears, the less valuable that franchise becomes. Seemingly if the Maloofs are forced to sell only to a Sacramento-committed buyer, the Kings’ value is diminished.

            Best I can tell, there’s only one difference between how Sacramento and Charlotte city governments behaved:

    Sacramento mayor (and former NBA point guard) Kevin Johnson was proactive throughout the process in offering an alternative to moving to Seattle.

            Then Charlotte mayor (now North Carolina governor) Pat McCrory was more reactive. McCrory showed up in New York at the 11th hour of the relocation process, pitching that the city would build a new arena, while stating (understandably) that negotiating with Wooldridge was getting nowhere.

            That’s when Stern came up with his split-the-baby tactic: Give the Hornets permission to move, while opening dialogue on an expansion team for Charlotte. Does the NBA now point Seattle toward expansion? Because it sure looks like the money and momentum are there for Seattle to finally replace the SuperSonics.

Posted by Observer Sports on April 29, 2013 at 07:24 PM | Permalink


Rick: off topic, but how about the Bobcats package their first round pick this year and Gordon's expiring contract to Sacramento for Cousins and whatever dead weight they want to send back? Cousins and Bismack could make a great, young offense/defense combo in the front court. We would still be bad enough to hopefully pick up Parker or Wiggins in the 2014 draft. Seems like that would get us much further along than drafting Noel, McLemore or Porter. Playoffs by 2015 with that squad.

Posted by: Steve | Apr 29, 2013 9:26:26 PM

Agree with Steve....much more interested in looking ahead than the rearview mirror.

Let's get some good "what if's" for the draft....like what is Cho's draft history and who are we potentially getting? Or the history of the #2 pick?

Posted by: Chris | Apr 29, 2013 9:41:29 PM

Chris: I enjoyed Rick's anecdote. I remember Mark Cuban was the only owner who voted against the Hornets relocation. Charlotte owed him one, so we gave him Tyson Chandler for nothing a few years later so Cuban could get his NBA championship. We are more than even now. Maybe he could give us a few million for the Panthers stadium renovation?

If we can't get Cousins, what about Len from Maryland? We need low post offense. Hopefully, we don't end up with the first pick this year. I am hoping we save that luck for 2014.

Posted by: Steve | Apr 29, 2013 10:06:16 PM


You missed some important distinctions between the Charlotte situation and the situation in Sacramento. According to Kevin Johnson, the mayor, the owners in Sacramento are trying to sell the team to a group that will relocate the team to Seattle, while in Charlotte the owners were not selling but just relocating. There is a big difference, since owners do not want to vote against relocation because they may someday want to relocate. Additionally, Sacramento has not only approved a new stadium but has provided an alternate buyer that is qualified and willing to pay the same amount for the team.

Posted by: Mike | Apr 30, 2013 8:07:53 AM

Steve, you are wrong about Mark Cuban. He voted his approval for the Hornets to leave and go to New Orleans. When it came time to vote for Charlotte to get an expansion franchise he was the only owner that voted against Charlotte calling the Bobcats.

Cuban is a jerk, he frequently called WFNZ during the time the Hornets were still here in Charlotte their last season and said he was against them moving. He was toying with us making us think he was on our side but he wasnt. Get your facts straight.

Posted by: Frank | Apr 30, 2013 9:14:35 AM

Frank, I forgive you, please just don't do these things going forward. You are wrong, yet told me to get my facts straight.

Here you go:

Associated Press story:

"The only owner to vote against the Hornets' move from Charlotte to New Orleans in 2002, Cuban still expects the SuperSonics' proposed relocation to be approved by his peers when NBA owners consider the move at their April 18 meeting."

Shows vote of 28-1: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/nba/hornets/2002-05-10-owners-relocation.htm

Let's all do a better job of thinking twice before we post.

Posted by: Steve | Apr 30, 2013 11:12:30 AM


Posted by: PANTHERSFAN4LIFE | Apr 30, 2013 2:36:28 PM

ok Panther Fan 4 life and Stevie, did you read thru the 2nd post you idiots ? The lone vote to not allow the Hornets to move to New Orleans was the Memphis Grizzlies, it wasnt Mark Cuban...........Go back and check also, Cuban voted against Charlotte being awarded the Bobcats franchise as a replacement for the Hornets. By the way,why dont both of you get a life and a job while your at it, anyone who has time to do this during the day doesnt have much going on. I'm only reposting to point out the fact that you are both buffooons

Posted by: Frank | Apr 30, 2013 3:59:34 PM

Which is it? One of those stories says it was Memphis and the other says it was Dallas? I'm interested because I never knew about any of this.

Posted by: martymcflyy85 | Apr 30, 2013 6:27:23 PM

of course cuban voted FOR the team moving in the end. mccrory was demanding that shinn sell the team. as an owner......who in their right mind would support that precedent.

and in defense of mccrory.....what mayor in that situation wouldn't demand that? it was the only way the team would be worth keeping.

the big eff up in this whole scenario was when bob johnson was granted the franchise. if jordan had owned the team from day one, sure we might be horrible, but we would all feel a lot better about it.

and cuban is far from a jerk. for a billionaire......how many billionaire's do you see at places like the double door on a monday night? easily one of the least pretentious people who SHOULD be pretentious.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 30, 2013 9:21:18 PM

If Seattle were to get an expansion team, how long before the folks in Kansas City or St. Louis start cranking up the "we need 32 teams" now to make things even?

Posted by: BIG MAC | May 3, 2013 9:28:42 PM

So Frank gets called out but the other guy is the jobless buffoon? Y'ok

Posted by: Taro Baap | May 10, 2013 8:50:15 AM

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