Whales revealed: Kevin Johnson outlines bid to keep Kings in Sacramento

Kevin JohnsonThe saga over whether the Sacramento Kings will stay in town or move to Seattle took a new but not unexpected turn Thursday night as Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announced 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov and Southern California grocery store magnate Ron Burkle are teaming up to buy the team from the Maloofs and build an arena where a open air mall currently sits.

Ryan Lillis, Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee outlined Johnson's plan, which he revealed during his State of the City address.

Mastrov will be the one to present his offer to the NBA, which will then be passed on to the Maloofs. His name might not be as familiar as Burkle's, but it is familiar and well respected in NBA circles. Mastrov was the runner up in the sale of the Golden State Warriors in 2010, presenting an offer in the ball park of $420 million.

The details of the bid for the Kings have not been revealed, but it is expected to be in the range of the one put together by the Chris Hansen/Steve Balmer Seattle group.

Meanwhile, Burkle will begin work on turning the Downtown Plaza, an open air mall that struggles to attract shoppers, into a state of the art arena that would serve as an entrance in to the city's downtown and Midtown areas. Johnson added that Burkle's vision for the arena includes setting up an entertainment complex similar to LA Live and the Staples Center.

The Mastrov/Burkle group will now enter in to negotiations with the city about putting together a formal arena proposal.  The goal, according to the Bee report, is to have that proposal finished in time for the city's April 2 City Council meeting.  Then, Johnson and the Mastrov/Burkle group will likely make a presentation at the NBA Board of Governors meeting in mid-April.

Photo: SB Nation