In 2008, Seattle lost its NBA team when the Supersonics relocated to Oklahoma City and were renamed the Thunder. Five years later, it looks like professional basketball will be returning to the city.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the majority stake of the Sacramento Kings will be sold by the Maloof family. The sale would transfer 65 percent ownership to a group led by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen.
The deal will likely mean the end of basketball in Sacramento. Wojnarowski is reporting that the new ownership group will move the Kings to Seattle, as early as the 2013-2014 season. They are expected to file for relocation before the deadline on Mar.1 and the NBA’s relocations is expected to ratify the decision.
The move will likely bring about big changes in the franchise’s front office. This will probably be the final season for general manager Geoff Petrie, who is in the last year of his contract. The report states that the Kings could replace him with a former NBA great.
Larry Bird is reportedly on the organization’s wish list to lead the team. The former Boston Celtic was an executive for the Indiana Pacers for almost a decade. He left the Pacers after the 2012 NBA Draft, and was named the NBA Executive of the Year in his final season with the club.
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Longtime NBA writer Peter Vecsey says another NBA legend could return to basketball to help lead the Kings. According to Vecsey, it is a virtual certainty that Phil Jackson will be involved when the team moves to Seattle.
“Source says almost living lock Phil Jackson will become front office face of Seattle-bound Kings' franchise. Won't coach. Will mentor choice,” tweeted Vecsey late on Sunday.
Jackson retired as the Los Angeles Lakers coach in 2011, but there have been rumors surrounding his return to the league on several occasions.
When The New York Knicks were eliminated from the playoffs in 2012, there was speculation that he wanted to coach the team. When Mike Brown was fired as the Lakers head coach five games into the season, Jackson spoke to L.A. brass about making a return to the club.
There were reports that Jackson wanted to coach Los Angeles, but didn’t intend on making all of the team’s road trips. Being involved in Seattle’s front office would allow him to be involved with the team, but avoid much of the travel.
San Antonio Spurs general manager R.C. Buford has also been mentioned by Wojnarowski as an option to head to Seattle.