Maloofs Close To Selling Kings To Seattle Group

January 9 2013 at 6:02pm CST By Luke Adams

6:02pm: The Seattle group has made significant progress in negotiations and is confident a deal will eventually get done, a person who was briefed on the status of the negotiations told Sam Amick of USA Today.  If the deal is completed, the team would be called the Sonics.

3:12pm: The Kings' minority owners haven't been told about a sale, according to Amick, who says that minority owners must be told before a sale is completed. Additionally, Amick writes that the NBA has issued a memo to the league's owners warning them not to comment on the Kings' situation.

12:41pm: The Maloofs are finalizing an agreement to sell the Sacramento Kings to a Seattle-based group led by Chris Hansen, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. According to Wojnarowski, the Kings are expected to be sold for about $500MM, which would be a new record, topping the Warriors' 2010 sale price of $450MM. The Seattle group is seeking to relocate the team to the KeyArena for the 2013/14 season.

The deadline for NBA teams to file for relocation for the following season is March 1st, so there would be plenty of time to petition the league for a move to Seattle. Wojnarowski indicates that league officials would work diligently to help the franchise move to Seattle if the sale is finalized.

According to Wojnarowski, the Seattle group hopes to play two seasons in the KeyArena, starting in '13/14, before making the transition into the new arena — progress on that proposed arena has been approved so far by Seattle's City Council.

Daina Falk, the daughter of agent David Falk, had tweeted early this morning that the Kings were being sold to Hansen's group, which includes Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, but later deleted the tweet. A Kings official had since denied that there was any truth to the rumor, according to a Sacramento Bee report. While no agreement has been signed yet, a source describes the deal to Wojnarowski as "first and goal at the one."

Wojnarowski's report comes on the heels of news that the city of Virginia Beach and Comcast-Spectator were unable to reach an agreement with the Maloofs that would have proposed to relocate the Kings to Virginia. At the time, Bruce Rader of WAVY-TV noted that Kings ownerships figured to explore other options, while Tom Ziller of SBNation.com speculated that Seattle rumors were about to heat up.

Assuming the deal is finalized and approved by the NBA, the Maloofs are expected to retain an extremely small percentage of the franchise, says Wojnarowski. However, they wouldn't have any real input or say in the team anymore.

The city of Seattle has, of course, been without an NBA franchise since 2008, when the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. If the Kings move to Seattle for the 2013/14 season, it will be a victory in the northwest for commissioner David Stern, who was reportedly "determined" to return the NBA to Seattle before retiring in February of 2014.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

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