With an offer on the table from Seattle investors for about a week now, the Maloof family has had time to think it over and they’ve reached an agreement to sell the Sacramento Kings.
According to ESPN.com, NBA league sources said that teams were notified that the Maloofs and a Seattle group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen finalized a purchase and sale agreement on Sunday that would send the Kings to Seattle by as early as next season. The franchise was valued at $525 in the deal.
The agreement would transfer the 65 percent majority stake owned by the Maloofs and Bob Hernreich to the Seattle group headed by Hansen. There’s only one thing standing in the way from the transaction being complete; NBA approval.
On Monday, the league announced:
“The proposed transaction is subject to the approval of the NBA Board of Governors and has been referred to the Board’s committee process for review.”
However, this last hurdle is not usually a difficult one to get over. The league typically approves these types of deals when they reach this stage in the process.
The Maloofs understandably seemed reluctant to give up the team. There was talk of a counter-offer from a Sacramento-based buyer, but no other deal has been presented to the family yet. The city will certainly miss its Kings, but maybe no family will more than the Maloofs.
“We have always appreciated and treasured our ownership of the Kings and have had a great admiration for the fans and our team members,” Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof said in a statement on behalf of the family. “We would also like to thank Chris Hansen for his professionalism during our negotiation. Chris will be a great steward for the franchise.”
Even with the deal all but complete, some Sacramento city officials, including mayor and former NBA player Kevin Johnson are not willing to ship the Kings off just yet.
After receiving permission from commissioner David Stern to seek out a counter-offer from buyers who would keep the team in Sacramento, Johnson still strongly believes the team may end up staying, but he knows that the clock is ticking. Johnson said that his city is in a “six-week sprint” to put a proposal together.
“When it comes to keeping the team in our community, Sacramento is playing to win,” Johnson said. “In particular, we have been focused like a laser on identifying an ownership group that will both have the financial resources desired by the NBA and the vision to make the Kings the NBA equivalent of what the Green Bay Packers have been in the NFL.”
With both parties simply waiting for league approval, any hope of the team staying in Sacramento at this point seems like false hope. And although it will be a sad day in Sacramento when the Kings move, the city of Seattle will surely welcome its Kings with open arms.