The Sacramento Kings were the talk of the NBA last week when it was first reported that a Seattle-based ownership group was on the cusp of purchasing the franchise and relocating it to the Emerald City.
However, Kevin Johnson—current mayor of Sacramento and former NBA star—is apparently working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure his city doesn’t lose its beloved franchise.
According to an Associated Press report (via Komonews.com), Johnson has received NBA Commissioner David Stern’s blessing to present a counteroffer to the league from local investors who have a strong desire to keep the club in Sacramento.
Johnson admitted that time is short, as the deadline to apply for relocation is March 1. The mayor called it a “six-week sprint” and he is going to need that time in order to rally financial backers that want to ensure the Kings aren’t sent packing to the heart of the Pacific Northwest.
This venture is going to cost some serious coin, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that the Seattle ownership group—headlined by investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft chairman Steve Ballmer—offered a whopping $500 million to Joe and Gavin Maloof for the Kings.
When considering that Forbes’ most recent valuation of the franchise was just $300 million and that the Maloofs are generally regarded as cash poor, it’s not a stretch to believe a rich counteroffer is the only thing that would possibly keep the team away from the Seattle-based investors at this juncture.
It’s a tough time to be a Kings fan, as the team’s poor play on the court and uncertain ownership status has taken a toll on attendance, and general fan support is wavering.
Johnson and his local investors are going to need to put together a serious bid within the coming weeks; otherwise, the Kings are likely on their way out of town.