Report: NBA returning to Seattle with help from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer earlier this year. (Microsoft photo)

Watch the video above. This is what Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer — and frankly, the rest of the Seattle sports community — is probably doing right now.

Why? The NBA is reportedly coming back to the Emerald City thanks to an investment group that includes Ballmer.

Respected Yahoo! Sports NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski is Tweeting today that the The Maloof brothers, owners of the Sacramento Kings, are finalizing an agreement to sell the Kings to the Seattle investment group led by Seattle investor Chris Hansen.

Wojrnarowski reports that the deal will sell the Kings for approximately $500 million, with the Seattle group having the team play two seasons at Key Arena beginning next October and then relocating to the proposed new $490 million arena in the SoDo district. Plans to build arena were approved by the City Council and the King County Council last October.

It’s not quite completely official, but this sure sounds about 95-percent to being a done deal. Still, there is a chance it could fall through knowing the Maloofs:

And there’s also this:

Reports came out in June that Ballmer was part of the investment group led by Hansen. It’s not surprising: Ballmer was a regular at Sonics games before the team departed for Oklahoma City in 2008 and also was part of another investment group that tried to keep the team here. Seattle has been without a team since then.

The group also includes Erik and Peter Nordstrom, part of a family that owned the Seahawks from 1976-1988.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen also has NBA ties, as he’s owned the Portland Trail Blazers since 1988. Allen also owns the Seattle Seahawks and is a minority owner of the Seattle Sounders. Another tech company — Nintendo of America — owns the Seattle Mariners.

Update, 1:30 p.m.: As reported, the deal is not quite there yet. There is this Tweet from a Sacramento TV station reporting that the Maloof brothers rejected the deal:

To which Seattle radio host Mitch Levy responded with:

And there’s this from KJR radio colleague Ian Furness:

So there’s that. Aaron Bruski over at NBC Sports has a nice breakdown of the hurdles Hansen and Co. must jump over to make this deal happen.

Update, 3:50 p.m.: Sacramento mayor and former NBA star Kevin Johnson spoke with the media just now, reassuring fans that the city is going to do what it can to keep the team in Sac-town.

Previously on GeekWire: Video: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer crashes CES keynote

  • http://twitter.com/ExtendedResults Extended Results, In

    Look forward to it!

  • Guest

    Thanks, Steve!

  • Budd

    Seattle SuperChronics!

  • http://twitter.com/shawnherron shawn herron
  • http://twitter.com/Nanostring Nanostring Founder

    Time to move back to Seattle, now that the NBA is “in” and OVP is “out”… If only something could be done about the rain…

  • Basketball Fan

    If this happens, please, please, please don’t call them the Sonics or Supersonics. That ship has sailed and the Seattle area deserves a new team with a new name, not one that will share some weird history with the stolen team in Oklahoma.

  • http://matthughes.us/ matthughes

    This is great news for Seattle but please tell me Clippy won’t be the team mascot.

  • http://josephsunga.com/ Joseph Sunga

    Listening to Sacramento sports radio (http://tunein.com/radio/CBS-Sports-1140-s33038/) and all of this sounds so familiar. lt’s like deja vu.

    Although, this feels oh so sweet! Sonics FTW!

  • guest

    If that means Steve’s preparing for a MS departure, then that’s a good thing…