The possibility of the Sacramento Kings moving to Seattle appears to have taken a big step forward, as news broke last night that the Maloofs have reached an agreement to sell the franchise to the Seattle group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer. According to various reports, the Seattle group will buy 65% of the franchise for about $340MM, with the total valuation of the team at $525MM. Sacramento and mayor Kevin Johnson will still receive an opportunity to present a counter-offer to the NBA Board of Governors, but it sounds as if it may be a long shot. Here are the latest details on the team's potential sale and move:
- Hansen and the Seattle Center are already working toward preparing the KeyArena for the fall, tweets Chris Daniels of KING 5 TV in Seattle.
- According to Matt Steinmetz of CSNBayArea.com (via Twitter), the Maloofs approached Larry Ellison about the $525MM price, but Ellison wasn't interested. Ellison was involved in the bidding when the Warriors were sold, and reportedly inquired about buying the Grizzlies as well.
- Hansen and the Maloof family have each released official statements confirming the agreement between the two sides. Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee shares Hansen's statement and the Maloofs' statement via Sulia.
- The NBA confirmed this morning that it has received an "executed purchase and sale agreement" for the transfer of the Kings' controlling interest. The statement reads: "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" (link via Sam Amick of USA Today).
- The relocation committee has been briefed several times on the possible move to Seattle, and is fully behind it, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. An official announcement detailing the agreement is expected to happen this week.
- Wojnarowski also reports that the Seattle group is already targeting candidates to run the team's front office, including the Spurs' R.C. Buford and former Pacers president Larry Bird. With Hansen's group expected to overhaul the front office, current Kings president Geoff Petrie will likely retire at season's end, says Wojnarowski. Peter Vecsey also throws Phil Jackson into the mix as a possible candidate to run Seattle's basketball operations (Twitter link).
- While the Hansen/Ballmer group has agreed to buy just 65% of the franchise initially, the group would like to buy out the remaining 35% in the near future, reports TNT's David Aldridge on NBA.com. According to Aldridge, the final agreement was signed by the Maloofs and Hansen late Saturday night.
- Given the transition in ownership, the Kings aren't expected to be active at this season's trade deadline, but could make "major changes" in the summer, tweets Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio.
- In an Insider-only FAQ for ESPN.com, Kevin Pelton rounds up the key details on the potential sale of the Kings.
- ESPN.com's latest 5-on-5 discussion focuses on the Maloofs' agreement with the Seattle group.