Monday was a tough day for Sacramento Kings fans, a great day for Seattle Supersonics fans and probably mixed for most others.
The Maloof family and a Seattle based group led by Chris Hansen announced a deal was in place for the Seattle group to buy the majority share of the Kings from the Maloofs and one minority owner for 65 percent of the $525 million the franchised was valued at (roughly $340 million).
Tuesday was a much better day for Kings fans as Mayor Kevin Johnson first announced 20 local business owners each dedicated $1 million each to keeping the Kings in California's capital city. The big news came later in the day, when the USA Today's Sam Amick reported two men, billionair Ron Burkle and 24 Hour Fitness Founder Mark Mastrov, were in talks to form an ownership group to make a bid to keep the team from moving.
Burkle is known to be focused on the arena plan that is unfolding at Sacramento's downtown plaza, where the property's new owners, JMA Ventures, have shown an interest in partnering with prospective owners of the Kings on the project. Mastrov made a serious bid to buy the Golden State Warriors before the team was purchased by the Joe Lacob/Peter Guber group in July 2010.
If Sacramento does have a shot of keeping the Kings, this is it. Burkle is a part of the Penguins ownership group that helped build a state-of-the-art arena for the team and help usher in the team's current run of success, which included a Stanley Cup championship in 2009. As Amick pointed out, Mastrov fell short of purchasing the Warriors in 2010 and is passionate about owning a NBA team.
Any local group will likely have to, at the very least, match the Seattle groups offer and likely offer close to $400 million to sway the NBA and Maloofs away from the Seattle deal.
It does not look great for Sacramento, but this situation is far from over, especially when you consider the close relationship NBA Commissioner David Stern has with Johnson and the extensive work the NBA put in to negotiating an arena day last year. Just seems unlikely that they would be willing to abandon Sacramento altogether.
Photo: Sactown Royalty