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Hansen congratulates Sacto on keeping Kings

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SEATTLE (AP) - Chris Hansen is not going away in his pursuit of bringing the NBA back to Seattle.

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Hansen released a statement on his SonicsArena.com website on Monday afternoon, congratulating Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson on his efforts to keep the Kings in California, while also vowing to keep up his pursuit of getting the NBA back to Seattle.

``Even as we are disappointed with the developments related to our efforts to purchase the Kings, we would just like to reiterate our dedication to bringing the NBA back to Seattle,'' Hansen wrote. ``We will continue to press forward with our arena plans with the same commitment and effort we have over the last two years, and look forward to working with the City (of Seattle) and (King) County to see the project through the hurdles that remain. Likewise, we plan to continue to work with the league regarding opportunities that may arise to return an NBA franchise to our City.''

Hansen's statement came less than a week after his attempts to purchase the Kings and move them to Seattle were denied by the NBA Board of Governors in Dallas. The league's owners voted 22-8 to deny the move of the franchise to Seattle and the Maloof family struck a deal with lead Sacramento investor Vivek Ranadive a day later to sell the Kings and keep them in Sacramento by selling a 65 percent controlling interest at a total franchise valuation of $535 million.

Hansen's group - that includes Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer - had offered a purchase price based on a $625 million franchise valuation and a relocation fee of $115 million.

``Given what our community went through in 2008, if there is any silver lining in this for Seattle it is seeing Sacramento's dedicated fan base successfully rally to keep the Kings,'' Hansen wrote. ``This was never about Seattle fans versus Sacramento fans, and it goes unsaid that there is a mutual respect given the circumstances we have both been through.''

Fans of the league and supporters of Hansen's efforts believed this was the best opportunity to bring the NBA back. Political and public support was at its peak since the messy departure of the Sonics for Oklahoma City following the 2008 season. Hansen made a point in his statement of thanking the political leaders that have stood behind his arena efforts and his pursuit of the Kings and thanked fans for displaying their desire to see the NBA return.

From the start of the process, Hansen has pledged patience and reiterated that need.

``When we began our efforts in 2011, we went into it knowing that above all else it would take patience,'' he wrote.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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