The man who still hopes to bring back the Sonics has finally broken his silence.
It’s been two weeks since Chris Hansen’s bid to purchase and move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle was denied by the NBA. On the heels of the league approving the sale of the Kings to Vivek Ranadivé and company, Hansen spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since the advisory meetings in New York last month.
He joined Dave “Softy” Mahler on KJR Radio in Seattle to share his perspective and point of view on the last five tumultuous months in the Emerald City. We’ve compiled a few excerpts from the Tuesday interview, which can be listened to in its entirety in the audio player below.
Hansen’s major takeaway from the process of attempting to buy and relocate the Kings:
I think that it’s hard to move teams. I think the league is comprised of its owners (and it) had a change of heart when KJ and Sacramento was able to kind of rally local support for both an arena and getting an ownership group together that could afford to pay a pretty steep price for a franchise, a team in Sacramento. I think it really came down to that. Maybe we were our own worst enemy in that. I think that people look back with the experience of what happened in Seattle with a real bad taste in their mouth and probably it wasn’t as easy as some of them thought it would be. Keeping a team in a market is an easier decision.
Hansen on what they could’ve done differently:
I think the one thing I would just say honestly if we would have known that there would’ve been such strong support to keep the team there, we probably would’ve approached this differently, if at all. And I say that more as how we move forward. All you guys probably appreciate when you first reported this story, we really thought that the Kings were gonna be leaving Sacramento. It was just a matter of where. And I think to a certain extent, the NBA probably felt that was the case too. And I don’t want to put words in anybody’s mouth. I mean, you guys read the stories about the other markets where the Kings might be going and they had tried to relocate before. So, we really felt like that was the outcome that was most likely and most palatable I think to the NBA.
Hansen on whether they would try to take another city’s team again:
In terms of road map, I would just say we’re not going to be in that position again. We’re not going to be going to another city as a predator and trying to wrestle a team away. It’s unfortunate that we found ourselves in that position. It’s not the way we wanted to handle things. I think it made us all uncomfortable sitting there (and) it’s like Seattle vs. Sacramento fans. After everything we had been through, it kind of made me sick to my stomach in a way of like just how did I get myself in this position. This wasn’t the way this was supposed to go down.
Hansen on misconceptions about the NBA process and commissioner David Stern:
I would say the one thing I want to clear up is I don’t think that David Stern has it out for Seattle. I think that that’s an important message. I think this was more about keeping the Kings in Sacramento and not having another team relocate that historically had a good fanbase than it was about sticking it to Seattle again. And I think that is a fact. People here might not want to hear that or don’t want that interpretation…the owners voted – these guys had the ability to each choose and say what they wanted to do at the end of the day. And you know, it’s painful to move a team and so some of them gave the benefit of the doubt without question to the hometown market.
Hansen on what his group would do if another team goes up for sale:
I would just say before we would ever sign an agreement to purchase a team, we would want to be sure that that team was pre-approved to move here if you will. (That) there was no doubt in it. So that we weren’t the ones making that decision, we weren’t going through a battle with the local fanbase. That somehow it had been determined that this was going to happen because I just don’t think it’s not the way we want to portray ourselves. It’s not why we’re in this. Last thing I want is people in other cities fearing our group as like “if you don’t get this done then these guys are gonna to take your team.” I’m uncomfortable with that.
Hansen on what he plans on doing with his agreement to purchase Bob Cook’s 7-percent stake in the Kings:
Well, technically where it is it’s with the bankruptcy court pending approval from the NBA of us to purchase it. In reality where it is is I think us just trying to sort out with the NBA how to get that to the Sacramento group. It would probably be the preferred solution for everybody.
Hansen on whether his group considered taking legal action against NBA:
We’re interested in doing things the right way and I just do think getting in a protracted legal battle isn’t going to solve anything. It’s just a waste of mental energy and I’d rather spend the time with my kids and sure, doing other things that are important to me in life.
Hansen on the reports that his relationship with the Maloofs soured the NBA’s Board of Governors:
No, I don’t think so. I think that’s just rumor and happenstance. I think that we put a great offer on the table and that’s what people were voting on. They were voting on in the context of Sacramento coming up with an arena plan and putting together what turned out to be a $535-million offer for the team. I don’t think our relationship with the Maloofs or any other lack thereof (with the league) really made a damn bit of difference in the end.
Hansen on whether his group was encouraged or guided by the league to raise its offer two times:
No, I don’t think the NBA would ever, just in my working relations, be in the position to dictate what to do. The bid was our decision, the elements of it were our decision and we did what we thought was best to give ourselves a chance.
Hansen on his $30-million non-refundable deposit with the Maloofs (has no plans of suing):
Just kind of like the bankruptcy piece, it’s just not decided. We’d like to have it back and it’s just a matter of where it would come from, how would it come from and when it would come and that’s just a negotiation.
Hansen on if he decided to jump on the opportunity to bring back the Sonics because he saw an opening with the Kings three years ago:
No, not at all. I specifically got involved because I took my kids to the Giants’ World Series parade and my son was the exact same age as I was when I saw the Sonics win the championship in ’79. I said somebody’s got to do something, nothing was happening and there’s a lot of diehard people here I knew that felt the same way as me and somebody had to just take the mantle and go for it.
Hansen on how he hopes Sonics fans proceed moving forward:
I just think people just need to get the bad taste out of their mouth and just move on. Being resentful just doesn’t get you anywhere in life. I think the city did a great job of that in this process as we got to this point. (If) the Sacramento Kings situation would’ve never come up and they would’ve stayed and been sold to a local owner (to begin with), I think the mentality of our city would be probably, and sports fans here, be a little bit better. Does it really bother you that bad? Don’t you want basketball back in our city? If you want the Sonics back, it’s probably a good time to try to get over the anger and frustration and just get back to doing what it takes to show everybody what a great city we are.
Can’t see the audio player? Listen by clicking here.