The Maloof family is finalizing the sale of the Kings to a group that would relocate the team to Seattle next season, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting.
The deal will sell the Kings for approximately $500 million to a group led by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft chairman Steve Ballmer. The group is seeking to relocate the franchise to Seattle’s Key Arena for the 2013-14 season.The Seattle group’s plans, with support of the NBA, is to play two seasons in Key Arena before moving into a new Seattle arena, sources said.
No agreement has been signed, but one source with knowledge of the talks described the deal as “first and goal at the 1.”
The purchase to a group led by Hansen, a Seattle native living in the San Francisco area, is not complete. The Maloofs have a history of bailing on major deals at the last minute, as Sacramento officials know from getting their hearts broken in arena negotiations in the Northern California city. But if details from the very reliable Wojnarowski are completed, chances are good the NBA is forever leaving a town that has supported professional basketball like few others.
TNT analyst David Aldridge confirmed that a deal is in the works and that its structure came together just before Christmas, according to league sources. While the deal has not yet been consummated, the Seattle group is increasingly confident that a deal can be reached. Word of a possible deal first surfaced in a tweet published by Daina Falk, the daughter of sports agent David Falk. In a tweet that was subsequently deleted, Daina Falk said the sale of the Kings was “a done deal” and that the Kings would be in Seattle next year.
Just yesterday, civic leaders in Virginia Beach, Va., who had hoped of luring the Kings this year, ended that cause.
Seattle has already secured financing for an arena and was only waiting on having a team in place before moving forward with construction. The hope there all along has been for the relocated franchise to be re-named the SuperSonics, wear the familiar green and gold, and play in KeyArena until the new building is completed. That, Seattle Mayor Michael McGinn told NBA.com in October, would likely mean two seasons in the old facility.
There are other details to the reported agreement, Wojnarowski reports:
The Maloofs are expected to keep an extremely small percentage of the team, but will have no real input or say in the franchise, sources said.
Once the sale is completed, the Seattle-based group will have until March to file for relocation. NBA commissioner David Stern has been a big proponent of the Hansen-Ballmer group, and league officials will work diligently to help the franchise move to Seattle if the sale is finalized, sources said. The Seattle-based group is determined to not have the franchise spend a final lame-duck season in Sacramento.