It's unclear, though, what happens now with Hansen's effort to bring back the NBA to Seattle. The city has been without a team since the Sonics left for Oklahoma City after the 2007-08 season.
Stern repeated in his NBA-TV interview his long-held stance that expansion is not an option.
"All I can say is that discussion will have to wait for commissioner (Adam) Silver (who is taking over when Stern retires Feb. 1) to oversee," Stern said. "Right now, expansion is not on the agenda, But I would never say never. We will see what happens. It doesn't make a lot of sense unless we know what the new TV deal is."
The NBA's national TV contracts expire after the 2015-16 season.
Hansen had targeted the Kings because they were seen as the team that might be the most vulnerable, with an aging and small arena, built in 1988, and an ownership group that had attempted previously to move the team.
McCann said "there's no obvious other team" available. If there is one, McCann pointed to the Milwaukee Bucks, whose arena also dates to 1988. However, the team has a lease through 2017 with reports that a new arena plan will be developed by then. And Milwaukee owner Herb Kohl -- a former U.S. Senator -- is a Milwaukee native who is unlikely to sell the team to someone who would move it.
NBA.com, meanwhile, reported that legal action against the league "is a near impossibility, given that the NBA requires prospective owners to sign agreements that prohibit them from taking legal action if their bids are denied." It further reported that "a source with knowledge of Hansen's group's plans said Sunday that the group had never thought about taking any legal action if it lost."
While there was much celebrating in Sacramento -- Johnson scheduled a 5 p.m. rally downtown -- there was consternation among Seattle officials who had worked hard to push through the arena deal. Under the terms of the deal with the city of Seattle and King County, Hansen has until Dec. 3, 2017, to secure a team.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said, "I was disappointed. I was hopeful that today would go well."
In a brief statement he said he is proud of Sonics fans and their work to get Seattle a team.
The mayor has perhaps the most at stake politically if an arena deal stalls. Making a deal with the Hansen investment team is one of the most high-profile accomplishments of his first term.
McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine each attended a presentation made by the Seattle group to the NBA's Board of Governors in New York on April 3 to state the case for the city.
In a twist that surely only deepened the wound for Seattle basketball fans, the chairman of the committee who voted Monday was Clay Bennett, who bought the Sonics in 2006 and two years later moved them to Oklahoma City. The others who voted Monday were Peter Holt (Spurs), Herb Simon (Pacers), Glen Taylor (Timberwolves), Greg Miller (Jazz), Ted Leonsis (Wizards) and Micky Arison (Heat).
The BOG vote had initially been expected to come April 19 in New York. But Stern said then the league needed more time to evaluate the situation. Many speculated that also helped buy Sacramento more time to get its proposal solidified.
"If the vote was two weeks ago, I bet it was not unanimous," McCann said. "I think the league likes to rally around one vote and I don't think the league was ready for that two weeks ago."
Hansen's quest to bring the NBA back began roughly three years ago when he began quietly buying up land in the Sodo District. Hansen first let the city of Seattle know about his plans in June 2011, and the first public notice came in December 2011.
Hansen, who grew up in Rainier Valley, has said a seminal moment of his life came in 1979, when he was 11 years old and the Sonics won their only NBA championship. It still is the only championship for a Seattle team in one of the three major pro sports.
Hansen, now a hedge-fund manager who works out of San Francisco, wasn't in a financial position to make a bid for the Sonics when they were bought in 2006 by Bennett.
Hansen not only put together an ownership group that included Ballmer, but also helped power through an arena deal approved by King County and the City of Seattle. The $490 million project for an arena in Sodo would have included $290 million in private money. Hansen also agreed to make improvements to KeyArena for the team's stay there.
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