The investors who have a deal with the Maloof brothers to buy the Kings have officially filed with the league to move the team to Seattle, reports Tim Booth of The Associated Press. The group, led by Chris Hansen and Howard Ballmer, had been expected to do so before the March 1 deadline, but the news, delivered by commissioner David Stern, makes it official. Stern called Hansen and Ballmer's bid "very strong" in his comments to reporters in Minneapolis assembled before tonight's Timberwolves-Spurs game.
Hansen and Ballmer reached an agreement last month to buy a 65% stake in the Kings, investing $340MM of the $525MM value of the franchise. That value, a 75% jump from the value Forbes magazine determined last year, was set as part of the agreement. The city of Sacramento and mayor Kevin Johnson have been scrambling to put forth a counter offer, having found 20 local investors to pledge $1MM, with rumors that Ron Burkle and Mark Mastrov have interest in teaming up to spearhead the bid.
The Sacramento group is expected to make its case before the league at the board of governors meeting in April, so no resolution on the future of the Kings appears likely until then.