Before you scream Supersonics back hold off for just a second. The Sacramento fans and Mayor Kevin Johnson won’t give up that easy and it appears they now have some help. Read more after the jump.
While the Maloof family has reached an agreement to sell the Sacramento Kings to a group headed by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer — a group that intends to move the team to Seattle for next season — Johnson and team are working on a counter proposal.
One that includes Los Angeles based billionaire Ron Burkle, who flew out to New York to meet with David Stern this week, reports Sam Amick at USA Today.
Los Angeles-based billionaire and prospective owner of the Sacramento Kings, Ron Burkle, met with NBA Commissioner David Stern on Thursday in New York City, according to two people with knowledge of the situation…
Burkle — the supermarket mogul who is part owner of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins — has been planning to make a competing bid with fellow money man Mark Mastrov, the Northern California-based founder of 24-Hour Fitness, in an attempt to convince the NBA to keep the team in Sacramento. The goal all along from the Sacramento side has been to force the NBA into a tough decision by putting together an arena plan and a bid that’s competitive with the Hansen-Ballmer group.
The question is simple: Even if Johnson puts together a group with the money and a viable plan, the question is will that be enough? If they do get it together, it would certainly make approval of the sale more awkward for the Board of Governors, but the board can choose what it wants.
If you’re asking why the Maloofs don’t just sell to Burkle, there is some animosity there. Burkle stepped forward saying he would buy the team and keep them in Sacramento when the Anaheim deal was proposed, and that angered the Maloofs. They don’t want him to get the team.
Any sale of a team must be approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors (made up of the owners or their appointed representative). That body meets in April in New York and Johnson is expected to make his pitch there.