For the second time in three years, the Sacramento Kings will host their regular-season finale with the franchise’s future uncertain. Hours before the Kings tip off against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night, NBA owners will gather in a New York boardroom to begin deliberating where the team will be located next season.
Sacramento or Seattle?
Nobody quite knows for sure.
“Pretty much every year since I’ve been here, the past five years, the last game of the season has been at home and it’s been the same feeling — that uncertainty,” Kings forward Jason Thompson said. “It’s just a little bit more into the media this year and things have been really going back and forth and stuff like that, so it’s a little bit more emotion.”
The Maloof family reached an agreement in January to sell a 65 percent controlling interest of the Kings to a Seattle group led by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen at a total franchise valuation of $525 million, an NBA record. With pressure mounting from Sacramento’s counteroffer to keep the team, Hansen announced last week he would “voluntarily” raise the valuation to $550 million “as a sign of our commitment to bring basketball back to our city.”
The NBA’s joint committee assigned to give a recommendation on the issue will convene again today. The annual meeting of the league’s Board of Governors, consisting of all 30 owners, is Thursday and Friday.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed Tuesday that no vote will take place on the Sacramento-Seattle situation at the board’s gathering, as commissioner David Stern had indicated during a preliminary meeting on the issue April 3 in New York. A decision can be made at any time, including by phone or email.
Whenever a vote is taken, Seattle needs 23 of 30 owners to approve the sale of the team to the Hansen group. If the sale is approved, a second vote will be largely ceremonial to decide whether the Kings can move to Seattle. A simple majority — 16 votes — is all that’s needed to approve relocation.
Led by Mayor Kevin Johnson, Sacramento has fought back over the past three months to make the sale and relocation of the Kings a real debate. Johnson pushed a nonbinding financing plan for a $447 million downtown arena through the City Council — complete with a $258 million public subsidy — and lined up an ownership group to compete with the Seattle contingent.
■ CAVALIERS — All-Star guard Kyrie Irving apologized for skipping a postgame ceremony for fans following Cleveland’s final home game on Monday against Miami.
Irving was stripped of the ball by Norris Cole in the closing seconds of the 96-95 loss to the Heat, who rested LeBron James and most of their stars. Irving immediately ran off the floor and to the locker room instead of participating in a jersey giveaway on “Fan Appreciation Night.” All the Cavs players handed out their game-worn jerseys and sneakers.
Irving, the league’s reigning Rookie of the Year, posted an apology on his Twitter account for missing the event.
“I want to personally apologize to all the Cavs fans for my actions yesterday,” Irving wrote. “It was truly unfair to you guys. I’m very appreciative for all of you guys. Your love and passion for the organization and city is what pushes me to be great.”
The Cavs initially said Irving ran to the locker room to have an injured heel examined by trainers. However, Irving seemed upset that reporters had been told he was hurt, and the 21-year-old had an awkward exchange with a club official.
■ SPURS — San Antonio signed veteran forward Tracy McGrady, adding depth and experience as the playoffs arrive. The 33-year-old McGrady is a seven-time NBA All-Star drafted ninth overall in 1997. In 938 career NBA games, McGrady has averaged 19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.21 steals per game. In 44 playoff games, he has averaged 25.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.16 steals.
■ KNICKS — New York signed guard-forward Quentin Richardson for the remainder of the season. The 6-foot-6-inch Richardson has career averages of 10.3 points on 39.8 percent shooting from the field and 35.5 percent shooting from 3-point range.