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Originally published April 10, 2013 at 6:38 PM | Page modified April 11, 2013 at 12:36 PM

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Report: Owners of Kings have given Sacramento a 5 p.m. Friday deadline to make offer

The Maloof family agreed in January to sell the Sacramento Kings to a group led by Chris Hansen, who wants to move the team to Seattle. According to The Sacramento Bee, the Maloofs have given Sacramento a deadline of 5 p.m. Friday to submit a binding offer for the team. The bid would have to match what Seattle has offered or the Maloofs will no longer consider offers from Sacramento.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The owners of the Sacramento Kings have set a deadline of 5 p.m. Friday to receive a binding offer from a Sacramento group attempting to keep the team from relocating to Seattle.

That's according to a report from The Sacramento Bee, one of several that emerged Wednesday about the city's potential offer to buy the Kings from the current owners, the Maloof family.

And according to Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, the offer may be more than enough to appease the Maloofs.

"They know what the number is," Johnson said, referring to the Maloofs. "They know it is better than competitive."

Johnson made those comments to a group of reporters at halftime of the Kings' game Wednesday night in Sacramento, saying further that: "Our ownership group is talking to the NBA and the Maloofs' attorneys and lawyers on a regular basis. I feel very comfortable with how strong our bid is and how competitive it will be."

Based on The Bee report, some clarity about Sacramento's offer could come by Friday. The paper reported the family wants to see a written, binding bid that matches what Seattle has offered or it will no longer consider offers from Sacramento.

The offer would be a backup bid to that made by a Seattle group led by Chris Hansen and would be considered only if the NBA does not approve the sale to Hansen's group.

The Maloof family agreed in January to sell 65 percent of the team to the Seattle group for $341 million, based on a total valuation of $525 million, the most ever for an NBA franchise.

However, sales and requests for relocation must be approved by the NBA Board of Governors — approval of the sale requires 75 percent, or 23 of the 30 NBA owners.

Since news of the Maloof/Seattle sales agreement, Johnson has led an effort to counter, assembling an investment group to help build an arena and make a competitive bid for the team.

That effort would go for naught if Sacramento could not make a bid that would come close to that of Seattle's. An initial Sacramento bid was deemed by Stern to not be worth consideration.

After Stern made that statement, Sacramento's ownership group was reconfigured with Vivek Ranadive, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and a current part-owner of the Golden State Warriors, becoming the leader. Also since added to the group are Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs and Sacramento developer Mark Friedman.

Stern indicated at the meetings last week in New York that Sacramento's offer would be, or had been, increased. He said Sacramento's offer "was not an issue."

No one there, however, answered definitively when asked if the Sacramento offer matched that of Seattle's. Stern has also said he did not want the Seattle/Sacramento battle over the Kings to become "a bidding war." However, it is thought the Seattle group can increase its offer for the Kings.

George Maloof represented the Kings at the NBA meetings last week and reportedly reiterated that the family wants to sell the team to the Seattle group. It won't be much of a debate if the Sacramento group does not have an offer that matches that of Seattle's.

A Friday deadline for a Sacramento offer might increase the chances that a decision on the fate of the Kings is made when the NBA Board of Governors meets April 18-19 in New York.

After the meetings last week, however, Stern said the decision could go past that date.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com


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