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NBA Owners reject Kings' move to Seattle, Sacramento to keep franchise

By Schuyler Dixon

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, May 16 2013 8:50 a.m. MDT

"This is an ownership group that's played to win and kept us in the game, and put us in a situation where ultimately over the next couple days, if things go right, we can close this out and move to a new chapter in Sacramento," Johnson said.

In a letter sent to the relocation and finance committees during its April 17 meeting, the Maloofs said they preferred to sell to the Seattle group and expressed discontent with Sacramento's bid, saying it fell "significantly short."

After Wednesday's vote, however, George Maloof denied that his family wasn't willing to sell to the Ranadive group and that the league was pressuring them to do so.

"It's been a fair process, a very fair process," Maloof said.

Hansen spent nearly two years working to get an arena plan approved by the city and county governments and spent more than $65 million buying land in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood where the arena would be built. Hansen has a five-year memorandum of understanding with the city and county on the arena plan.

A small crowd at a Seattle restaurant was subdued as word spread that the franchise wasn't coming, while horns blared and cheers erupted from bars in Sacramento.

"In Kevin Johnson we trust," said season-ticket holder Jim Amen, who wore the jersey of No. 16 Peja Stojakovic, the Kings' first-round draft pick in 1996. "This meant a lot to our city. It's not just about basketball, but about revitalizing our downtown."

About a dozen Sacramento supporters wearing Kings jerseys and "Small Market Big Heart" T-shirts waited most of the day in the Dallas hotel to hear what turned out to be good news. Not so for a handful of fans in green and gold hoping for the return of the Sonics.

"It's been a roller coaster for both cities, but we've never looked at this as a competition between Seattle and Sacramento," Johnson said. "We thought this was about what we needed to do to keep our team in Sacramento. We'd take a back seat to no city when it comes to the way we support our team."

Now they have the backing of NBA owners.

Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apschuyler

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