Johnson made a desperate pitch to the NBA Board of Governors in April 2011, promising league owners the city would find a way to help finance a new arena to replace the team’s current outdated suburban facility. That pitch bought the Kings time, before the brokered deal between the city and the Maloofs fell apart last year.
Johnson said the Maloof family still must repay a $77 million loan to the city and other lenders.
While some players around the league took to Twitter on Wednesday to express their excitement about the possibility of the NBA returning to Seattle — especially those players from the Puget Sound area — others were more reserved.
‘‘There’s a part of me that’s disappointed because Sacramento, I've enjoyed my times. I think Sacramento is a great town,’’ said current Denver coach and former Seattle coach George Karl. ‘‘I'm not going to lie — I'm happy that Seattle is going to have a team more than Sacramento. But I am disappointed that Sacramento can’t keep their team.’’
AP Sports Writers Bernie Wilson, Antonio Gonzalez, Pat Graham and Brian Mahoney, and AP Writer Don Thompson contributed to this report.