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200px-Seattle_SuperSonics_logo (1)The effort to bring the NBA back to Seattle isn’t over quite yet.

Hoping to convince NBA owners that Seattle is ready for a professional basketball franchise, the Seattle investment group led by Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer increased its bid for the team by $75 million to a grand total of $625 million.

This is the third time the Seattle group has raised their bid. Here’s Hansen’s blog post from today:

In an effort to further demonstrate the extent of our commitment to bring basketball back to Seattle, we have elected to voluntarily increase our proposed purchase price for the Sacramento Kings NBA Franchise by $75 million — from an enterprise value of $550 million to $625 million. In conjunction with our revised offer, we have also guaranteed to the NBA that the Franchise would be a revenue sharing payer in all years in Seattle.

While we appreciate that this is a very difficult decision for the league and owners, we hope it is understood that we really believe the time is now to bring the NBA back to Seattle, and that it is paramount that we do everything we can to put Seattle’s best foot forward in this process.

Hansen also listed off several reasons showing how much further ahead Seattle is with its arena plan:

  • The ownership group has acquired 100% of the property necessary to construct the Arena.
  • We have 100% of our private financing for the Arena committed and in place.
  • After being approved by the City and County Councils the Arena MOU/legislation was signed into law by the Seattle Mayor and King County Executive on October 16, 2012. The referendum period expired 30 days later.
  • We engaged our Arena architects two years ago and have completed our detailed design schematics and costing.
  • We have filed for our Master Use Permit and are well underway with the Environmental Review Process, which we expect to conclude late this year.

Last week, the NBA relocation committee unanimously voted Monday afternoon to block Seattle’s bid to buy the Sacramento Kings and bring the NBA back to the Emerald City. That recommendation was a seriously blow to Seattle’s chance of getting an NBA team this fall, as there may never be a better opportunity to get pro hoops back in this city, as Ballmer said last week.

League owners will make an official vote May 15, but that’s still expected to be a formality at this point.

Hansen and Ballmer already reached an agreement with the Maloof family (current owners) in January to buy 65 percent of the Kings for a reported $341 million.

But Sacramento came back with its own investment group and arena plan, and the NBA’s relocation committee believes that the Kings should stay in California.

Hansen penned a blog post last week, writing that the Seattle group “has absolutely no plans to give up.”

Also last week, NBA commissioner David Stern called the Seattle group a “perfect prototype” for NBA owners.

UPDATE, 1:15 P.M.

Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson tweeted some response to the upped bid, first saying that “we feel very confident about the position we are in right now.”

Previously on GeekWire: How social media reacted to the Sonics news that left Ballmer ‘horribly disappointed’

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