8:46pm: According to Mayor Johnson, former Kings star Mitch Richmond is one of the investors who will help with trying to buy the seven percent stake of the team that is currently in bankruptcy (Ken Berger of CBS Sports tweets). He also names Mastrov and Burkle as the other benefactors who are spearheading the city's bid to keep the Kings in Sacramento (Twitter links). Berger clarifies that Mastrov will be a majority investor in the team, while Burkle will help lead the new downtown arena project.
12:07pm: Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson is scheduled to make his State of the City address tonight, and may reveal the identities of the investors he has recruited to make a counter-offer for the Kings, according to Tony Bizjak, Ryan Lillis, and Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee. The so-called "whales" are widely believed to be Ron Burkle and Mark Mastrov, though Johnson has yet to confirm those reports.
While the Maloofs reached an exclusive agreement with Chris Hansen's Seattle group that prohibits them from negotiating with anyone else, the Kings majority owners are willing to accept "backup offers" for the franchise, a source tells the Bee. Whether an offer comes from Burkle and Mastrov or from minority owner John Kehriotis, who is said to be putting together a proposal of his own, it "would have to be a backup offer to the definitive agreement" between the Maloofs and the Seattle group, according to the source.
At least one Sacramento city council member, Steve Cohn, is intrigued by the push being made by Kehriotis to secure the necessary funds for an offer, since he wouldn't be seeking a public subsidy for a new arena. While Cohn is skeptical that Kehriotis can assemble all the financing, he notes that it would save Sacramento "a lot of money." Assuming the Burkle/Mastrov bid pursues a public subsidy, city officials have indicated they would provide up to $255MM, the amount provided for a proposed arena last spring, according to the Bee report.
Meanwhile, although one report suggested that Hansen's Seattle group never paid the $30MM non-refundable deposit that was due to the Maloofs by February 1st, Joe Maloof confirmed that the payment was in fact made, according to the Bee.