Paul Allen refuses to tip his hand on Seattle/Sacramento vote, but...

Paul Allen refuses to tip his hand on Seattle/Sacramento vote, but...
April 18, 2013, 9:00 am
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Paul Allen met with the media briefly prior to Portland's final regular-season game Wednesday night and the only thing of any real note was his statement about the possible transfer of the Sacramento franchise to his home town, Seattle.

Here's what Allen said:

I think the league announced that there wasn't going to be a decision at this owners meeting. If there was, I'd be back in New York talking to people, forming my opinion. I think it's a tough call. While I supported the Sonics staying in Seattle when they ended up leaving, I think in general there's some feeling that if there's good fan support and there's good political support sufficient to have a state of the art facility, that's more than enough reason to keep a franchise in the same place.

Then you can get into all the parameters of who has made the best offer, who hasn't made the best offer. It's a very difficult thing. Steve Ballmer is a very good friend of mine and I think he would be a great owner. I reserve my final decision.

I do think that part about "good fan support" and "good political support sufficient to have a state-of-the-art facility" was important. Allen, along with Mark Cuban, was one of only two owners to vote against the transfer of the Sonics to Oklahoma City. That means he's supportive of Seattle as an NBA city, of course, but it also could mean he favors keeping teams where they are if there's a reasonable belief the proper fan and political support is there.

And even though Steve Ballmer is Allen's old friend, if I had to make a guess, I'd say he'd vote to keep the team in Sacramento. But that's just a guess. I cannot believe the NBA wouldn't just tell Seattle it's getting an expansion team. It can even make it for a year from now, if it wants -- anything to get Seattle back in the league where it belongs.