Spencer Hawes opens up about Seattle/Sacramento Kings saga

Updated: 9:13 am PT
Spencer Hawes throws down a dunk against the Kings. (Photo: Ron Nabity)

Spencer Hawes is unapologetic about where he stands in this current chapter of the Sacramento Kings relocation saga. He would like to see the Seattle SuperSonics back in the NBA, even if it comes at the expense of moving the franchise that selected him 10th overall in the 2007 NBA Draft.

However, that doesn’t mean the Philadelphia 76ers center doesn’t have mixed emotions. The Seattle native admits there is a hypocrisy Sonics fans like himself face as this saga reaches its peak.

Before yesterday’s Kings/Sixers match-up at Sleep Train Arena, the 24-year-old big man sat courtside after his pregame warmups and fielded questions about the Sacramento/Seattle debate.

Hawes’ take on how this saga has played out the last few months:

Kind of history repeating itself, I guess. From having been on the other side of it – just as a fan, watching when the Sonics left to Oklahoma City the first time around, it’s just such a touchy situation. (I’m) feeling like I have a little bit of connections to both sides, but you know like I said, at the same time, this is kind of what the business of basketball has become. And it’s all about the revenues, where the most opportunities are. And I think for better or for worse, that’s what it’s come to.

Hawes grew up in Seattle idolizing the Sonics, but his first NBA opportunity came in Sacramento. The Sixers center on whether he has conflicting feelings about this situation:

Yeah I mean, there definitely is. But I mean, I won’t make any qualms about the fact (of) where I stand and that I want to see my hometown get a franchise. There is some (conflict), but I’m not going to beat around the bush or anything with what my stance is.

Hawes received criticism for comments he made about the possibility of Sacramento losing the Kings yesterday morning. What kind of reaction has he received on Twitter?

Everybody in Seattle is on one end of the spectrum and Sacramento is on the absolute opposite. So it’s like any time any news comes out about it, the feed lights up and that’s to be expected. That’s the modern day of social media.

Entering last night’s game, was the 76ers center prepared to hear boobirds from the crowd?

Oh yeah I saw that was on Twitter today. There’s a movement to boo me so I guess I’ll be expecting the boos.

It appears Sacramento is getting a shot from the NBA to keep its team, an opportunity Seattle wasn’t afforded before it lost the Sonics. Hawes on Sacramento’s opportunity to match the Seattle bid:

Well, I don’t see where – it’s not like it’s an auction. There’s a sale agreement that’s in place. And you know obviously, there’s a pretty big check that was cashed to ensure that it goes through. So, it’s a business and when you agree to sell a business, I don’t think it’s written in any bylaws that you necessarily have the opportunity to match the offer. So, I don’t know exactly how all the intricacies work, but I just wish the first time around the city of Seattle acted like Sacramento did with all the efforts to try and preserve the organization.

When the Sonics left for Oklahoma City, Seattle’s politicians didn’t want to play ball with the NBA and build a brand new arena. In Sacramento, their leaders have shown nothing but support since the team nearly moved to Anaheim. Is the difference between the two situations the political climate?

I think the difference is definitely that and the stated intentions. I think the fans in Seattle were kind of sold a false hope that when the group from Oklahoma City bought the team that they were trying to get an arena and that they wanted to keep the team there when everybody knew that wasn’t the reality. But that was the way that it was marketed. I think the group from Seattle this time around, their intentions have been clear from the beginning. And for better or for worse, you’d prefer it like that than feel like everyone had been duped.

Are there mixed feelings for Hawes knowing that perhaps the only way Seattle can bring back the Sonics is by taking another city’s team?

Yeah, I mean I think this is where I get kind of hypocritical and my hometown fandom comes out more than maybe it should. But, you look at a team – where this team’s on the block for something like $525 million when the last time it was valued, it was a lot less than that. So, that’s the league’s incentive to not grant an expansion franchise. And that’s the business that basketball and that the NBA has become in the modern age.

If he had a hypothetical say in all of this, would expansion be the happy ending?

I haven’t gotten far enough to look at all the repercussions of that because expansion sounds easy, but then there’s a lot of impacts it has. And (there’s) the new collective bargaining agreement with the revenue sharing – how it impacts that. So, I’d have to delve a little deeper.


Jonathan Santiago
Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.

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