Kings sale: Kevin Johnson lays out process for Sacramento's fight to retain Kings

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson took the first step in the city's process to retain the Kings franchise on Tuesday.

The city of Sacramento isn't going to let a Seattle ownership group buy the Kings away all that easily. Mayor Kevin Johnson held a press conference on Tuesday to announce a group of local investors that have committed at least $19 million dollars toward keeping the NBA franchise in California's capital, but it's only the first step in what he called a four-step process.

Johnson again emphasized that NBA commissioner David Stern will hear a counter-offer from the city of Sacramento after a Seattle-based ownership group reached a deal with the Maloof family to buy the franchise last week.

With a local backing that Johnson said he rallied together since last Thursday, the former NBA player now looks to the next step -- finding an major equity partner to help buy the team from the Maloof family. Johnson said he'd like to find an interested party by the end of the week. Such a major partner would combined with the local investors to put together what Johnson called a "fair and competitive offer to match or come close to the Seattle deal."

That equity partner, then, would need to combine with the $19 million-plus total of the local investors to be competitive with the deal reached with the Seattle group that was 65 percent ownership of a franchise valued at $525 million.

Once that step in the process is decided, the city will look into a development partner that would be in charge of a new arena.

The final step, Johnson said, is to prove that the Sacramento market has potential to grow with an NBA franchise.

Johnson's goal is to have the plan and involved parties in place by March 1, the NBA's deadline for franchises to file for relocation.

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