The Sacramento Kings may not be heading to Seattle after all.
According to reports on Friday, a group of investors from the Bay Area headed by Mark Mastrov, founder of the 24 Hour Fitness chain, are now a part of the bidding war for the Northern California team. According to Mastrov in comments to The Sacramento Bee, his group wants to buy the Kings and “work with the city to get an arena deal if possible.”
Throughout the week, the Kings’ move to Seattle was eminent. Supposedly, there was a handshake agreement between the Maloof family and a Seattle-based investment group featuring hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer. The agreement was to sell the team for $525 million.
Mastrov is no stranger to the NBA franchise bidding war, as he was a finalist in the bidding for the Golden State Warriors two years ago. Offering $350 million, his group’s bid fell short of the $450 million winning bid by a group fronted by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.
While Mastrov’s group may not be able to bid as much as the Seattle group, a bid of at least $425 million would be competitive. Due to relocation costs that would cost more than $100 million, the Maloofs could make just as much money by selling to investors willing to keep the team in California.
Austin Chang is a Writer for Sports Out West and a San Francisco Bay Area-based sports journalist. His work can also be found on Yahoo! Sports and Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @_austinchang.