In yesterday's round-up of rumors related to the sale of the Kings, we learned that Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson had recruited a group of 20 local investors each willing to put $1MM toward a bid to keep the team in the city. More importantly, Sam Amick of USA Today reported that Ron Burkle and Mark Mastrov, two potential investors willing to put significantly more money toward that bid, were in serious talks about teaming up. Here's the latest on Sacramento, the Kings, and Seattle:
- At an afternoon press conference in Sacramento today, Mayor Johnson didn't identify Burkle, Mastrov, or anyone else as the "whale" involved in a local bid for the Kings. Johnson did say there were more than two possibile investors in play, and that "considerable progress" has been made (Twitter links via Dale Kasler and Scott Howard-Cooper).
- The NBA has begun vetting Chris Hansen's Seattle group and the sale agreement, according to Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee (via Twitter).
- Burkle and Mastrov are both committed to keeping the Kings in Sacramento and building the team into a contender, according to Ryan Lillis, Dale Kasler, and Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee, who say city officials view the possible pairing of the two investors as a "dream team."
- Johnson, who believes his message will resonate with the NBA, cautioned Seattle fans not to celebrate quite yet. "We as a community, we've had the emotional roller coaster (of trying to keep the Kings); it's hard," said the Sacramento mayor. "I would hate for them to be misled."
- Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (Sulia link) doesn't view Johnson's group of Sacramento investors willing to pony up $1MM each as a major factor, especially since local investors would likely be less open to giving the Maloofs the $30MM non-refundable deposit that the Seattle group is said to be paying.
- Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee agrees that Sacramento needs to make a bigger splash than Tuesday's announcement if it wants to make a compelling case to keep the Kings.
- Chris Hansen is trying to railroad the NBA into relocating the Kings, writes Tom Ziller of SBNation.com, arguing that David Stern needs to tell the Seattle group to respect the process.