Heartbroken Sonics fans react to bad news from the NBA
The NBA Relocation Committee voted Monday to recommend denying a proposal to move the Kings from Sacramento. Sonics fans were disappointed but haven't given up hope the NBA will return to Seattle eventually.
Seattle Times staff reporter
A big part of Jason Reid, the filmmaker who chronicled the saga of the Sonics in an award-winning 2009 documentary, "Sonicsgate," wants the story to end.
Since 2006, he's lived and died with every good and bad bit of news about the Sonics, their move, and the possible return of the NBA to Seattle.
Monday was a bad day, when the NBA's Relocation Committee voted unanimously to recommend to the league's Board of Governors deny a proposal from a prospective ownership group that wants to move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle.
"I've got to be honest, I have really looked forward to the possibility of it coming to a close and being able to return to being a normal NBA basketball fan who roots for their team," Reid said. "I don't want to keep fighting. I don't want to keep bullhorning. I don't want to keep doing this, going to playoff games and holding up signs and fighting this grass-roots campaign.
"But at the same time I'm willing, too, because if we've gone this far, to walk away at this point just doesn't make sense. We have too much positive momentum. We have too great of an ownership group that's going to be in it for the long haul. It's a blow to the movement, but it's not a death blow. It's not nearly as bad as it seems."
That's one way to look at things.
A Seattle group led by investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer reached an agreement in January to buy the Kings from the Maloof family and hoped to play at KeyArena next season. A spokesman for the Seattle group did not respond Monday to a request for comment.
However, there was a wide range of reaction from Sonics supporters following the Relocation Committee's recommendation, which likely kills Hansen's plans to purchase the Kings.
The Board of Governors is expected to vote the week of May 13:
"Everybody is surprised by the outcome and left without a clear idea where to go from here. At this point, the next step is to look for a lead or an indication from Chris Hansen on where to go.
"I certainly didn't see this on the horizon. I thought the economics of the deal favored Seattle, and every indication I had was the vote would follow the economics. But I don't think anybody really knew going into it. The outcome was certainly a surprise."
— Brian Robinson, SonicsRising.com
"The NBA needs to tell Seattle what the clear path is to getting a team because it seems like Hansen and Ballmer did everything the way they were supposed to. It was a little bit of a shock that they approved the move so easily from Seattle, 28-2 and now it's unanimous recommendation by the committee to deny Seattle. The ups and downs continue. The Hollywood story continues and hopefully we will have a Hollywood ending in Seattle with a new team."
— Adam Brown, SonicsGate producer
"I'm happy for Sacramento and sad for us. I'm split because I know what a huge part the team is to that community. I wanted expansion. People tend to forget about the people and how a team unites a community. They've already lost the (WNBA's) Monarchs, and to lose both teams would be a huge blow. There is nothing else. At least here there's still an opportunity to see great basketball. I know people will complain, but I hope they'll also use this to give the Storm a try."
— Jenny Boucek, Storm assistant coach and former Sacramento Monarchs head coach
"I'm surprised to a point but I think it's great for the WNBA. They (Sacramento) sweetened the deal by saying they wanted to bring the WNBA back, so we'll see if they were pulling a rabbit out of the hat or were serious. Seattle's a good basketball town and I'm sure they'll get their turn in two, three years. Seattle has made enough noise to show they have the interest and money to get a team."
— Bill Laimbeer, former NBA player and current New York Liberty head coach.
"I'm disappointed for the city of Seattle, the Hansen group and everyone that worked so hard and spent so much time on this. Hopefully there's news of expansion because there needs to be a team here. Everyone knows it's a fabulous sports town and the Sonics were a championship team. There's the fan support and money behind it and everyone would like a new arena, but more than for the team, you could definitely do so many other events here in the city of Seattle. It's a great city, but we're missing that one piece."
— Seattle University women's basketball coach Joan Bonvicini
"My first team was called the Sonics, so I grew up a huge fan, which sounds weird for someone from Greenwood, Ark. I selfishly hoped the Kings would be coming up here. But, from everything I've read, we're just not getting the Kings. We can still get an NBA team, which would be an added bonus to our city."
— Mike Neighbors, Washington women's basketball coach
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @percyallen; staff reporter Jayda Evans contributed to this article. .