Seattle NBA hopefuls negotiating arena work

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SEATTLE — Chris Hansen and Seattle city officials remain in negotiations on possible improvements needed at KeyArena should the NBA approve a relocation of the Sacramento Kings for the 2013-14 season.

An NBA.com story published Monday said Hansen’s group would spend an additional $20 million in improvements on KeyArena, where the Sonics would play for at least two seasons while a new arena is built in the Sodo District if the relocation of the Kings is approved. Hansen’s group has reached an agreement to buy the Kings, but the sale must still be approved by the NBA.

Aaron Pickus, spokesman for Seattle mayor Mike McGinn, said discussions with Hansen’s group are “going well but I don’t have a firm date for when that will be completed. But it is expected that it will be soon.”

Officials would not confirm the $20 million figure. As for what the money would go for, Pickus said it would include “general capital improvements to bring it more in line with NBA expectations.”

The Sonics played in a renovated KeyArena from 1995 until the team moved to Oklahoma City in 2008. The NBA has said it would approve a team playing in the arena temporarily while a new arena is constructed.

KeyArena is likely to be a topic that will be addressed when representatives of both Seattle and Sacramento meet before the NBA’s combined relocation and finance committee Wednesday in New York.

Among those representing Seattle will be Hansen, McGinn and King County executive Dow Constantine. Pickus said the message from Seattle will be clear that there are no issues concerning KeyArena.

“It will be ready for the NBA’s 2013-14 season (if the Sonics relocate) so we are working on the details of how that will work with Chris Hansen’s team,” Pickus said.

The arena agreement reached last fall included $7 million that would be devoted to the future of KeyArena. However, $5 million of that would go specifically to the Seattle Storm of the WNBA if the team moves to a new arena.

The agreement being worked on now would be for improvements specific to KeyArena. The work would happen only if the Kings move to Seattle.

The meetings in New York this week are deemed critical to that decision, which will ultimately be made by the full NBA Board of Governors when it meets in New York on April 18-19.

Among the items Hansen’s group will use to sell Seattle’s case are the results of a ticket waiting list set up through sonicsarena.com. The deadline for the wait list passed on Monday but numbers were not ready for release.

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