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Reports put Kings closer to Seattle

Tue., Jan. 15, 2013, midnight

Sacramento owners ‘have a clean path’

SEATTLE – Two more national reports published Monday suggested a sale of the Sacramento Kings to the Chris Hansen-led group that would relocate them to Seattle might be imminent.

In Sacramento, meanwhile, grass-roots efforts designed to keep the team there began in earnest.

A report from Yahoo.com stated that the NBA held a conference call with members of the league’s relocation committee last week to brief them on the outlines of a proposed sale.

The report said Hansen’s group, including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, would buy 65 percent of the team, with the team given a value of $525 million, and that discussions have continued the past week to clear the way “for the franchise to move to Seattle.”

The portion of the team Hansen’s group would be buying would be the 53 percent owned by the current controlling owners, the Maloof family, and 12 percent owned by Bob Hernreich.

The report said it was unclear if the Maloofs would retain any stake. But the report said the Maloofs would not have any role in the future of the team. The Seattle Times reported last week that one potential snag in the negotiations was the desire of the Maloof family to retain a role in the management of the team.

The remaining 35 percent would apparently remain with other minority owners (including a 7 percent share reportedly scheduled to be sold as part of a bankruptcy proceeding that Hansen’s group could purchase and increase its share).

A lengthy report Monday from NBA.com detailed the state of the negotiations and quoted what it called an industry source saying the Kings and their owners “have got a clean path to Seattle.” NBA.com is the league’s official website but its content is not controlled by the league.

The report also stated that Hansen might have wanted to delay making his pursuit of the team public until the Seahawks’ season was completed, suggesting an announcement could come this week now that the Seahawks’ season is over.

There was no official comment from Hansen’s group, the NBA, or the Kings.

Hansen’s group is hoping to wrap up the sale in time to meet the NBA’s March 1 deadline for applying for relocation for the 2013-14 season. If the sale goes through, the team would play for two years at KeyArena while a new $490 million arena is constructed in the Sodo District. The NBA.com report said that NBA commissioner David Stern and the league “wants certainty the arena will be built” before throwing its full weight behind Hansen’s purchase.

Stern said last week that he wanted to give the city of Sacramento a chance to come up with a buyer who could “match” the price of Hansen’s group.



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