Sacramento Mayor "Remains Confident" Of City's Chances Of Retaining NBA Kings
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson yesterday said that he "remained confident he would deliver a competitive bid to keep" the NBA Kings in the city, according to Lillis & Kasler of the SACRAMENTO BEE. A plan to buy the team by "deep-pocketed investors," reported to be Penguins co-Owner Ron Burkle and 24 Hour Fitness co-Founder Mark Mastrov, also is "expected to include a proposal to build a downtown sports arena." The mayor "plans to present that package to the NBA's board of governors as a counteroffer to a deal" between Kings Owners the Maloof family and a Seattle group headed by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Johnson said that he "wants his plan solidified by the end of this month." The NBA ultimately will "decide whether to support Johnson's proposal or approve the Seattle agreement." Johnson said, "I think we're really close. (Not having an announcement yet) is not a negative by any means. This is a complex deal" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/6). NBCSPORTS.com's Aaron Bruski noted since the Sacramento Bee’s report on Burkle and Mastrov's potential bid, there has "been speculation whether Kings minority owners have the 'Right of First Opportunity' to purchase the team from the Maloofs." Bruski: "Looking at the club’s governing documents, they well may." According to a copy of the Kings' '92 ownership agreement and an addendum to the original agreement from May of '03, if the Maloofs sell their interest to the Hansen-Ballmer group for the reported price of $341M and the minority owners do not take up the Right of First Refusal, Hansen and Ballmer would be "required to purchase a proportional stake of the minority share as well" (NBCSPORTS.com, 2/4).