Maloofs Agree to Sell Sacramento Kings to Seattle Group; To Become SuperSonics
According to sources, the owners of the Sacramento Kings have agreed to sell the team to an ownership group in Seattle. The group plans to move the team back to that city and reclaim the name SuperSonics.
ESPN.com reported that the Seattle group, headed by Valiant Capital’s Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, will purchase 65 percent of the Kings, a controlling interest, from the Maloofs and a minority owner, and that NBA teams were “formally notified” of the purchase agreement’s terms on Sunday. Yahoo! Sports reported that the Seattle group will pay the Maloofs “approximately $340 million” for their stake, based on a $525 million “valuation” for the franchise.
Any sale of an NBA franchise must be approved by the league's Board of Governors. Sources say that the sale will be approved. In addition, sources also say that the NBA's relocation committee will "overwhelmingly ratify" the move to Seattle.
The SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008 and became the Thunder.
However, Sacramento is not giving up without a fight. Several media outlets report that Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player, plans to present a counter-offer in an attempt to keep the team in the city.
The Maloofs will be able to continue reviewing bids until the sale is approved.
It is no surprise that the league is moving quickly to approve the sale. The Kings have always struggled in Sacramento, and Seattle has a rabid fan-base and a potential new ownership group with deep pockets.
In addition, it is no secret that the league has not been happy with the way the Maloofs have run the team and would be happy to see a more aggressive ownership group in place. Joe and Gavin Maloof have often been rated some of the worst owners in all professional sports, including by Sporting News, Business Insider and SB Nation.