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"Our day will come, and when it does, it will just be that much sweeter for the struggle," Hansen said.
It’s the second time since 2011 that the Maloof brothers have made plans that would have ended in relocation for the Kings. The first target was Anaheim, Calif., but Johnson convinced the NBA to give the city another chance to finance a new arena.
Johnson delivered on a promise for a plan for a new downtown arena with help from Stern, but the Maloofs backed out, saying it didn’t make financial sense.
The Maloofs had another surprise when they announced a deal in January with Hansen’s group, which includes Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and members of the Nordstrom department store family.
Johnson fought back again, this time lining up an ownership group led by Ranadive and getting the Sacramento City Council to approve a non-binding financing plan for a $447 million arena with a $258 million public subsidy.
"This is an ownership group that’s played to win and kept us in the game, and put us in a situation where ultimately over the next couple days, if things go right, we can close this out and move to a new chapter in Sacramento," Johnson said.
In a letter sent to the relocation and finance committees during its April 17 meeting, the Maloofs said they preferred to sell to the Seattle group and expressed discontent with Sacramento’s bid, saying it fell "significantly short."
After Wednesday’s vote, however, George Maloof denied that his family wasn’t willing to sell to the Ranadive group and that the league was pressuring them to do so.
"It’s been a fair process, a very fair process," Maloof said.
Hansen spent nearly two years working to get an arena plan approved by the city and county governments and spent more than $65 million buying land in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood where the arena would be built. Hansen has a five-year memorandum of understanding with the city and county on the arena plan.
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