It has been rumored for the past couple weeks, but today it looks official, as the Sacramento Kings appear to be headed to Seattle after all.
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 Maloof brothers and a minority owner. They also reported that NBA teams were “formally notified” of the purchase agreement’s terms on Sunday.
Yahoo! Sports then reported that the Seattle group will pay the Maloof’s “approximately $340 million” for their stake, based on a $525 million “valuation” for the franchise.
A formal announcement on the deal from the NBA could come as soon as Monday.
That’s big for the Seattle group of owners because they must apply to the league by March 1 in order to move the franchise to Seattle for the 2013-14 season, which appears to be a foregone conclusion as it is expected that the NBA Board of Governors are expected to “overwhelmingly ratify” the proposed move, according to a Yahoo! Sports report.
Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson has fought hard to keep the Kings in Sacramento and NBA commissioner David Stern has said that Johnson will be given the opportunity to make his case in front of the Board of Governors.
However with the proposed sale, he will be fighting an uphill battle as the Kings appear all but gone.
The Kings are expected to switch to the SuperSonics name, who played in Seattle from 1967-68 until 2008, when they were relocated to Oklahoma City.
In addition it appears as if they will play in the old Key Arena for two years until a new arena in Seattle is complete.
Follow Matt Shetler on Twitter for news, reaction and analysis from around the NBA.