SACRAMENTO (KTXL) — Mayor Kevin Johnson says he learned about a deal finalizing the sale of the Kings to the Vivek Ranadive group while at a Warriors playoff game Thursday night.
He told a group of Kings fans and reporters at City Hall Friday he was at the game “to remember what the playoffs are like” with Ranadive and others, when his phone started blowing up.
“And it says ‘the deal has been signed’ … I go up to (NBA Commissioner David) Stern and say ‘the story broke, the deal is signed’ and he says ‘You think I didn’t know that?’,” the mayor recounted for the crowd.
During Friday’s event the mayor repeatedly thanked Sacramento Kings fans for their support during the long process that culminated in last night’s sale of the majority ownership in the team from the Maloof brothers to Ranadive and other investors.
“We take a backseat to nobody when it comes to supporting our basketball team,” said Johnson.
He was quick to remind the crowd about the good things the Maloof brothers have done for the Sacramento area, including giving almost $20 million to organizations and groups in the area. Before they sold to Seattle, they explored a backup deal with Sacramento and that opened the door to allow Ranadive’s group to make their best offer.
“They didn’t have to accept the backup offer, and they did,” said Johnson.
Johnson said he had been in contact with Ranadive all morning, however he was not at Friday’s event. Johnson also was quick to not release any details about the deal with the Maloofs, and directed reporters to the NBA for further information. The new ownership group will take over by the end of the month at the latest following a closing period of the purchase and sale agreement.
Developer Mark Friedman did talk to the crowd, he said the new arena will open downtown on October 2016, and that the groundbreaking will be Fall 2014.
A rally for the fans is planned Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Chavez Park in Sacramento. The Mayor said the band Cake is expected to perform.