Mayor: Kings deal about 'not letting somebody take something that isn't theirs'
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says the agreement between the Maloofs and the group that will keep the Kings in Sacramento has been signed and money has changed hands.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said this morning the agreement between the Sacramento group that wants to buy the Kings and the Maloof family has been signed and the money has been wired, according to a story in the Sacramento Bee this morning.
The deal still has to close, however.
"We're hoping to get it all done within the next week or so and the (NBA) Board of Governors will vote and I don't anticipate any surprises," the mayor said, according to the Bee's story.
At a 10 a.m. news conference, Johnson said the NBA's decision to reject a sale to a Seattle group led by Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, followed by the signing of a $347 million deal to investors who will keep the team in Sacramento, is about "more than just basketball."
"It's about jobs and it's about revitalizing downtown," Johnson said. "It's about civic pride. It's about not letting somebody take something that isn't theirs."
The NBA's Board of Governors voted on Wednesday to not allow the team to relocate to Seattle, which effectively killed a deal the Maloof family had struck with the Seattle group.
The Seattle group reached an agreement in January to buy 65 percent of the team from the Maloof family.
The Sacramento Bee initially reported the deal with the Sacramento group, led by Silicon Valley executive Vivek Ranadive, Thursday night and that it would be for a total team valuation of $535 million. That's $10 million more than the initial Seattle deal and an NBA record (the most ever paid was $450 million for the Golden State Warriors in 2010).
After the NBA vote on Wednesday, one of the Maloof brothers, George, said he would talk with Hansen to see if he were interested in other options — including, apparently, a backup plan to buy 20 percent of the team that was revealed over the weekend. That option would have required NBA approval.
Selling the team to the Ranadive group, however, ends that plan.
The Bee's source had said the Maloof family was eager to "turn the page."
NBA commissioner David Stern said Wednesday he hoped the deal would be completed in 24 to 48 hours. Stern said Sacramento kept the Kings in part because the advantage went to "the incumbent." Stern had maintained throughout the process that his desire was to not see another team relocate.
One NBA writer Thursday tweeted that Stern might have played a particularly heavy hand in Wednesday's 22-8 vote by the Board of Governors, denying the relocation.
Steve Kyler, who covers the NBA for USA Today Sports, tweeted: "Sources close to the process in Dallas yesterday said that David Stern was an active participant in Seattle/Sac vote."
He also tweeted: "Sources said that Seattle group was compelling and that more owners were probably in favor of Seattle vote, but that Stern swayed the vote. Seattle offer would have valued the team at more than $625 million and that a $115 million relocation fee would have been paid."
A spokesman for Hansen said he would have no more comment for now. It was not reported if Hansen would get back his $30 million deposit on the original sale agreement.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org