Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson says he's "very close" to unveiling the identities of the deep-pocketed investors he has recruited to make a bid to keep the Kings in the city, according to Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee. Based on previous reports, it's expected that Ron Burkle and Mark Mastrov will lead the counter-offer for the Kings from Sacramento.
According to Johnson, he's up against a March 1st deadline to finalize the city's proposal. The mayor is hopeful that the NBA, which is expected to hear Sacramento's pitch to keep the franchise at the Board of Governors meetings in April, will give Sacramento an audience sometime before April, according to Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press (link via Star Tribune).
"I'm under the assumption that the joint committee may want to hear from us sooner," Johnson said. "We're going to have all the agreements and all the actions and all the documents squared by March 1st, as well as if there's an opportunity to present to the joint committee prior to mid-April, then I feel very confident. We're going to have all our ducks in order. We're going to be ready before mid-April if that's what it takes."
While the Maloofs have already reached an agreement with a group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, and have filed to relocate to Seattle, Johnson says the deal isn't as done as the Seattle group would have you believe. The former NBA veteran remains confident that Sacramento has a realistic chance of keeping the Kings in town.
"You just cannot tell me that when Sacramento presents a comparable, fair, competitive deal to what Seattle's done and makes good on this arena that this team is going to be plopped and relocated somewhere else," Johnson said. "At the end of the day, you just can't tell me that's going to happen."