If the Sacramento Kings are going to move to Seattle, it won’t be for lack of trying by California’s capital city.
On Sunday, the Sacramento Bee reported that a new area group tied to the new owner of the Downtown Plaza proposed to buy the team and construct a new arena on the same site. The investment group JMA bought the well-known mall from the Westfield Corporation in August 2012 for $22 million.
Following the sale, they completed a project validation assessment performed by AECOM in order to examine the feasibility of an arena and prepare poised to take the next step in the process and make a bid.
NBA commissioner David Stern has gone on record saying that Sacramento should have an opportunity to match any offer brought about by the Seattle group that includes hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen. Any official sale is also subject to approval by the NBA’s board of governors.
Ron Burkle, a retail tycoon and Bay Area investor Mark Mastrov have come on as potential buyers who would be interested in keeping the team in Sacramento.
Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson has vowed to fight to keep the team in Sacramento after outraged fans expressed their disdain for the Joe and Gavin Maloof surrounding the talks. The Maloofs are in debt from business ventures gone wrong in Las Vegas and from loans from the NBA and are at a point where they need to make a move to sell the team.
Yahoo! Sports has estimated that the sale price is between $500 and $525 million, which would trump the record-setting $450 million price tag paid for the Golden State Warriors by a Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber-led group in 2010.
Sacramento has leverage in the situation to pay a lower price than the Seattle group due to the over $100 million in relocation costs any non-local group would have to pay, which include a fee for the move itself and repayment of debt to the city of Sacramento.
The Kings are struggling mightily in 2012-13, going 13-24 through 37 games. They are in fourth place in the Pacific Division in a year surrounded by massive uncertainty.