City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

January 15, 2013
Mayor Johnson aims to make counter offer for Kings directly to NBA

With a Seattle group working to acquire the Kings, Mayor Kevin Johnson said this morning that he has received approval from NBA Commissioner David Stern to present a counter offer for the Kings directly to the NBA's board of governors.

Calling a reported $525 million offer for the team that's being floated by a Seattle group "outrageous," the mayor said during the annual State of Downtown address that he has developed a strategy to keep the Kings in Sacramento.

Johnson said he is looking for potential owners who would keep the team in Sacramento to bid against the Seattle offer led by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen. A new arena "must be part of the transaction" and the ownership group must include local partners, Johnson said.

"We want this to be the final act of a saga that's gone on for far too long," he said.

The mayor said the Maloof family, who own the Kings, "can participate in some way" in the new local ownership group "if they want to remain a part of this team and this community."

The names of some potential ownership groups that would keep the Kings here have emerged, including Sleep Train executive Dale Carlsen and Bay Area investor Mark Mastrov, the founder of 24-Hour Fitness who in 2010 made an unsuccessful bid to buy the Golden State Warriors.

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at rlillis@sacbee.com

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