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NBA returning to Seattle?

After breaking Seattle basketball fans’ hearts by taking the Sonics to Oklahoma City in 2008, investor Chris Hansen, a Seattle native, worked hard to bring the beloved team back to Seattle.

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This story has 9 updates

Q13 FOX News

Q13 FOX News

NEW YORK — NBA Commissioner David Stern said Wednesday that league officials are “not even close” to a decision on whether the Kings will stay in Sacramento or be sold to Chris Hansen’s group and moved to Seattle.

Following an NBA finance and relocation meeting that lasted more than four hours Wednesday, Stern said the decision is at least two to three weeks away.

The commissioner had previously hinted a few weeks ago that the decision wouldn’t take place at the Board of Governors meeting Thursday and Friday.  The NBA also said officially Tuesday that there would definitely not be a decision made during the Board of Governors meeting.

Board Chairman and Spurs owner Pete Holt told reporters that the idea of an expansion team is “not off the table,” despite Stern saying in the past that it wasn’t an option.

Stern declined to give details on the committee meetings Wednesday. However, when asked about the possibility of the NBA expanding to a 31-team league, Stern said there are “no current plans to expand.”

Meanwhile, the Sacramento Bee said the Sacramento investors trying to buy the Kings and block the team’s move to Seattle submitted a last-minute bid either Monday or Tuesday for the team. Mayor Kevin Johnson referred to that bid as a binding offer. Sources said it matched the Seattle group’s initial offer, but did not match an increased late-hour bid by Seattle.

The Bee reported that “a source close to the situation” disputed the mayor’s reference to a binding bid. The person, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, said Sacramento’s bid would require the Maloof family, which controls the team, to terminate its deal with Seattle investor Chris Hansen even before the Sacramento group negotiates a final, binding offer.

According to the Bee, NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed the league received the Sacramento bid late Tuesday.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (FOX40) — The NBA confirmed Tuesday that its Board of Governors will not vote on the sale of the Sacramento Kings this week, as had been expected.

A league spokesman did not say when a vote would take place.

Battle for the KingsThe news initially broke after Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn told a reporter that the league informed him of the delay.

The NBA Board of Governors will still meet Thursday and Friday.

Meanwhile, a bankruptcy judge has given Seattle’s Chris Hansen the go-ahead to purchase a seven percent share in the team, pending league approval.

SEATTLE — Investor Chris Hansen, who is attempting to obtain a new NBA team for Seattle, announced Friday night that his investment group has agreed to increase its offer for the Sacramento Kings by $25 million.

The announcement came just hours after it was reportedthat the group of investors in California who are seeking to buy the Kings from the Maloof family and keep the team in Sacramento had notified the NBA that they would match the previous offer of the Seattle-based group.

Just after 9 p.m. Friday, Hansen placed the following statement on his website, “We would like to announce that we have reached an agreement with the Maloofs to raise the price we are offering to purchase the controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise by $25 million — from an enterprise value of $525 million to an enterprise value of $550 million.

“While we already have a binding purchase agreement to purchase the controlling interest in the team, the Seattle Ownership Group has elected to voluntarily raise its purchase price as a sign of our commitment to bring basketball back to our City and our high degree of confidence in our Arena plan, our financing plan, the economic strength of the Seattle market, individual and corporate support for the team and, most importantly, the future of the NBA,” Hansen said.

Battle for the KingsEarlier, it was also announced in Sacramento that Chris Kelly, a former Facebook executive who ran for California state attorney general in 2010, was a new partner among the California investment group.

That group – which includes Silicon Valley executive Vivek Ranadive, members of San Diego’s Jacobs family, Sacramento developer Mark Friedman, and East Bay health club financier Mark Mastrov — is seeking to buy the Kings and block the franchise’s proposed move to Seattle.

The Maloof family, which owns the franchise, had set a 5 p.m. Friday deadline to receive a written, binding offer from the Sacramento contingent. But when it became clear that would not be met, the Maloofs apparently offered to extend it a couple of days.

Then Hansen’s group stepped in, offering to sweeten the original bid.

The NBA Board of Governors is scheduled to vote next week on which bid to accept, although that decision could get postponed.


Fight for the Kings continues; arena lawsuit dismissed

Q13 FOX News

Battle for the KingsNEW YORK — The NBA has asked the Sacramento investors seeking to buy the Kings to pay Seattle’s investors the $30 million non-refundable deposit they’d lose if Seattle doesn’t get the team, the trade publication Sports Business Daily reported Thursday.

Citing a source for the information, Sports Business Daily staff writer Daniel Kaplan said that the NBA does not want “Seattle to be discouraged if they do not get the team” and so the “league wants to make the group’s effort whole. Presumably that would be a show from the NBA that even if Seattle were not to get the team, the league remains high on the market.”

The NBA had no comment on the report. The Sacramento Bee reported that the Sacramento investors had no comment either.

The Seattle investment group led by Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has a purchase agreement with the Kings owners, the Maloof family, which includes a $30 million non-refundable deposit.

The Maloof family has set a 5 p.m. Friday deadline for the Sacramento investment group to provide a written, binding counter offer for the team.

The NBA Board of Governors is expected to decide between the Seattle and Sacramento offers to buy the team at its next meeting in New York on April 18-19.

Battle for the KingsSACRAMENTO — The Maloof family has given the Sacramento investors seeking to buy the Kings until 5 p.m. Friday to submit a written, binding “back-up” offer that matches the deal the family has in place to sell the franchise to a group in Seattle, the Sacramento Bee reported Wednesday.

Citing “a source close to the deal,” the Bee said that if the Maloofs receive a matching offer by Friday, they will consider it as a serious back-up proposal should the NBA nullify their tentative deal with Seattle.

If the offer doesn’t arrive, or doesn’t match the Seattle bid, the Maloofs have said any talks are off with the Sacramento group, the Bee said. The source declined further comment about who issued the ultimatum, when, or why, the newspaper said.

The investment groups from both Sacramento and Seattle presented their offers to the NBA in meetings in New York last week. The NBA Board of Governors, consisting of all team owners, is expected to decide the issue at its meeting April 18-19.

To read the entire Sacramento Bee story, click here.

SACRAMENTO (KTXL) – The day after it was announced that Ron Burkle would no longer be directly involved in Sacramento’s effort to keep the Kings and build a new downtown arena, a local developer has joined.

Developer Mark Friedman is now a part of the investor group, led by Vivek Ranadive and Mark Mastrov.

Friedman’s family, according to The Sacramento Bee, controls the Arden Fair mall.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Friedman expressed excitement about the arena project for both downtown and Natomas, where Sleep Train Arena currently sits.

He echoed sentiments brought up weeks ago that the Natomas site could be used for a technology company campus, hoping tech businesses will take a look at Sacramento as a possible home.

Mayor Johnson told reporters that Friedman’s name was brought up at the NBA committee meeting in New York, and that the league seemed pleased.

Friedman joins the day after Burkle left the group amid concerns of a conflict of interest. Burkle is an owner of a company that manages the careers of pro athletes.

Burkle will now be more indirectly involved, helping develop the area of downtown surrounding the planned area site.

“The timing of Burkle’s announcement honestly had nothing to with my decision,” Friedman said. He reiterated that he’d been independently interested for some time and decided to join after “thoughtfully” considering everything.