NBA’s Sacramento Kings closer to heading to Seattle

With one more procedural move, the NBA’s Sacramento Kings took another step toward Seattle.

NBA commissioner David Stern on Wednesday said the Seattle group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, which recently reached an agreement to purchase the Kings, has formally filed for relocation with the league. Stern called the Seattle group “very strong,” and said the appropriate committees have been convened to look over the proposed sale of the Kings and the prospective move to the Emerald City.

Stern said the relocation proposal calls for the team to play in KeyArena for “two years, possibly three,” while a new arena in Seattle is being built.

The deadline for teams to file for relocation is March 1. It’s been expected that the Hansen/Ballmer group would file to move the team, but Stern’s comments were the first time that decision had been verified. The filing for relocation is just another step, but big in the efforts to bring professional basketball back to Seattle for the 2013-14 season.

Hansen’s group reached an agreement with the Maloof family last month to buy 65 percent of the franchise, which is valued at $525 million, and move the team to Seattle and restore the SuperSonics name.  (AP)

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