“Just not ours,” he said.
“I feel good for KJ because he’s worked so hard,” said interim Brooklyn Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo, who worked with Johnson at NBC and coached the Sonics in their last season. “If it goes down that way, there’s no question who deserves the credit because, I mean, they could’ve rolled over a long time ago. Kevin just really made this happen, which is great.”
Seattle is now back to wondering when, and if, the NBA will ever return.
Hansen’s purchase agreement with the Maloofs seemed the perfect solution for the heartache that has lingered in the Puget Sound since the Sonics _ and their 41 years of history _ were moved to Oklahoma City. 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.
In the last few months, fan interest and support seemed to be at its highest since before Bennett purchased the team from Howard Schultz in 2006. Now those same fans are stuck waiting to see what the next move by Hansen and Ballmer will be, including mounting an effort for expansion or buying another team.
Hansen has a five-year memorandum of understanding with the city and county on the arena plan. Whether momentum for the NBA in Seattle will remain also is unclear.
“I’m disappointed, but undeterred in our quest to bring NBA basketball back to the Pacific Northwest,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Today’s decision doesn’t mean this effort is over. From what I saw at the presentation in New York, Chris Hansen and his team have made the superior offer and the best pure business case for the NBA to return to Seattle. We have a documented fan and business base ready to step forward when the time comes. We are patient, but determined.”
AP Sports Writer Tim Booth in Seattle, AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney in New York and AP writer Don Thompson in Sacramento contributed to this report.