In his annual state of the city address Thursday night, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is expected to disclose the names of investors who hope to buy the NBA Kings and build a new arena. The first confirmation of the rumor came Wednesday night from CBSlocal.com in the California capital.
Johnson previously had promised by Friday the names and a plan that would amount to a counteroffer to the club’s owners. The Maloof family signed an agreement to sell the franchise for a value of $525 million to Chris Hansen, who would move the club by the fall to his native Seattle.
A verifiable, competitive offer for team and arena would mean that the NBA owners would have to decide between the cities when they meet April 19. NBA Commissioner David Stern said it would not be possible to make both cities happy, meaning that expansion to accommodate both is not on the horizon.
In a related development, two sources confirmed to King5.com reporter Chris Daniels the Hansen group paid a required $30 million non-refundable deposit to the Maloofs Feb. 1.
Earlier Wednesday a report from a TV station in Orlando said Hansen had not paid the deposit, part of the 65 percent of the club sold by the Maloofs and a minority owner, who filed on behalf of Hansen for relocation to Seattle.
The deposit creates a business relationship between Hansen and the Maloofs, which could offer legal grounds to fend off the Sacramento counteroffer via a claim of tortious interference.
Tuesday the Sacramento City Council, by a 7-2 vote, authorized top city staff to begin formal negotiations on financing a downtown arena. The council budgeted $150,000 for outside attorneys and consultants to vet the proposal.
Last year, the council committed $255 million to the arena project, the revenues coming from future downtown parking revenues. But the plan fell through after the Maloofs backed out of the agreement.
In yet another development, another Kings minority owner, John Kehriotis acknowledged contacting the Maloofs recently about making a “back-up” offer to buy the team, if the Maloofs’ current sales deal with a Seattle group falls through. The proposal for $750 million is all private money that would not need the city’s parking fees.