Sacramento Kings relocation: Rumors of a local 'whale' abound

USA TODAY Sports

There is reportedly a "whale" of a local investor who has expressed some interest in buying the Kings and keeping them in Sacramento. The potential investor remains anonymous because he has only had preliminary talks with Mayor Kevin Johnson.

As potential suitors line up for a shot at owning the Kings and keeping them in Sacramento, one potentially large investor remains anonymous. Chris Lehane, a political strategist and one of Mayor Kevin Johnson's right hand men, described this nameless investor as a "whale," but would not release the identity because there had only been preliminary talks with Johnson (via The Sacramento Bee):

"It's like a first date," he said. "You have a nice bottle of wine and drop them back at the house."

There are multiple known suitors who have expressed interest in becoming part of a new Sacramento-based ownership group. There's Mark Mastrov, who founded 24 Hour Fitness and attempted to buy the Golden State Warriors back in 2010. Sleep Train Mattress Centers executive Dale Carlsen has also shown interest, which makes some sense because his company holds the naming rights to the Kings' current arena.

Supermarket tycoon Ron Burkle also still has some interest in owning a stake of the team. Darius Anderson, one of Burkle's associates, made an appearance with Johnson before the NBA Board of Governors in 2011 saying they wanted to buy the team. Burkle's group has reportedly recently expressed interest in developer Bob Cook's 7 percent share of the team.

On Tuesday, another name was thrown into the mix. Sacramento developer David Taylor, who was the developer of the railyard arena plan created last year, said that he has had conversations with multiple parties about possibly getting involved.

Once a plan is finalized, Johnson will be able to present his bid to the Board of Governors, a fact he revealed on Tuesday. Johnson said he would like his bid, which must include a viable arena plan, to be ready to go before the March 1 deadline for the Kings to seek relocation. The Mayor then said he would like to be able to present one unified ownership group to the Board of Governors in mid-April.

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