The Sacramento Kings will be under new ownership next season, but the current owners are looking to make sure that the team doesn’t remain in the city.
ESPN is reporting that the Maloofs have told the other NBA owners that they intend to sell the Kings to the group of investors from Seattle. If the league does not approve the sale, the Maloofs say they won’t allow the group from Sacramento to purchase the club.
Hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer have offered to buy 65 percent of the Kings for $409 million, which would put the estimated value of the team at $625 million. They are hoping to relocate the team to Seattle and bring basketball back to the city that lost the SuperSonics in 2008. If the Maloofs aren’t permitted to make the deal, they have decided to sell 20 percent of the franchise to Hansen and Ballmer for $125 million, allowing the current owners to continue to run the organization.
The new threat from the Maloofs comes after the NBA relocation committee unanimously recommended that the league block a potential sale to Hansen and Ballmer.
Billionaire Vivek Ranadive heads the group that is looking to keep the Kings in Sacramento. They have offered to buy the team at a value of $525 million and work with local governments to build a new arena using more than $250 million of public money. Ranadive’s offer has satisfied the owners, who are looking to keep the Kings in Seattle.
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The Seattle group, however, is continuing its push to acquire the team, despite commissioner David Stern’s efforts to avoid relocation. Stern has worked with Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson to keep the team in California’s capital city, and Ranadive is the favorite to win the bid.
If the NBA keeps their stance that it doesn’t want the Kings to move to Seattle, Hansen and Ballmer may be out of luck. The relocation committee, though, has reportedly scheduled a new meeting to evaluate the latest offer.