Kings Reportedly Have Interested Buyer Who Would Keep Team in Sacramento

Ethan GrantAnalyst IJanuary 11, 2013

LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 13:  UNLV head basketball coach Lon Kruger (L) talks with Palms Casino Resort President George Maloof during a preseason game between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Thomas & Mack Center October 13, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Lakers won 98-95. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

If daytime television picks up a hit show entitled, As the Maloofs Turn, it wouldn't surprise anyone in Sacramento.

In the latest turn of events, the Kings might stay in Sacramento after all. According to CBS Sports' Ken Berger, Joe and Gavin Maloof might have one final play that will keep the fanbase in Sacramento happy:

Mark Mastrov, the founder of 24-Hour Fitness who finished second to Joe Lacob and Peter Guber in bidding for the Warriors, told Friday he has interest in buying the Kings and keeping the franchise in Sacramento.

Mastrov has experience in the bidding process after losing out on the Golden State Warriors bid, and apparently he's keen on getting into the business of both owning his own NBA franchise and helping to save the Sacramento fanbase from losing its team.

Here's what Mastrov had to say to CBS Sports about his potential interest:

Definitely, there've been conversations. Definitely there's interest in acquiring the team and keeping it in Sacramento.

Berger also reports that Mastrov has had at least two face-to-face meetings with the Maloof brothers, so the interest is there on both sides.

It might just be the stroke of good luck the city of Sacramento needs, but it's equally as deflating to the city of Seattle. Poised to add an NBA franchise since the Supersonics left town, the city appeared close to putting together a group to complete a transaction for the team and start groundwork on a new arena in the process.

It's been an uncomfortable couple of days in Sacramento, as reported by USA Today. Kings players have been somewhat receptive to the idea of a move, but the fanbase has responded negatively to such plans and continues to show up in droves with posters and chants at the team's home games that employ the Maloofs to find a way to stay.

This isn't the first time the team has been on the verge of a move and remained in town. In 2011, the team had a move to Anaheim all but locked up, but mayor Kevin Johnson managed to convince ownership to give the city one more shot to get arena plans together, and the Kings stuck around.

Now, Mastrov has emerged as the lead dog of an unknown investment group that might include supermarket guru Ron Burkle. It's widely believed that NBA commissioner David Stern also wants to keep the team in Sacramento.

Nothing has happened on that front since then, hence the Maloof's renewed interest in getting out of dodge. We'll continue to monitor this new development as more news becomes available.

For now, don't count out Sacramento as one of the NBA's 30 franchises just yet.


Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.