Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
The Maloof brothers are reportedly close to selling the Sacramento Kings to a group of investors that would likely relocate the team to Seattle.
The Maloof brothers are reportedly finalizing a deal to sell the Sacramento Kings to a Seattle-based group, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Wojnarwoski tweeted that the Seattle group is led by Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, and Chris Hansen, a hedge fund manager.
Wojnarowski added that the team would be sold for about $500 million to the Hansen-Ballmer group, and they would seek to relocate the Kings to the Seattle area. The group of investors organized in 2012 in an attempt build a new arena and to bring the NBA back to Seattle, which lost the SuperSonics in 2008. If they acquire the franchise, the Hansen-Ballmer group would reportedly have the team play at Key Arena, the SuperSonics' old home, for two years -- beginning as soon as the 2013-14 NBA season.
Joe and Gavin Maloof acquired a majority ownership stake in the Kings in 1999, but financial problems and negotiations over a new arena in Sacramento prompted an attempted move to Southern California last year. A last-minute deal was struck to keep the team in Sacramento, but reports of a potential sale resurfaced again this year. It now appears they are close to finalizing that sale, as one of Wojnarowski's sources characterized the deal as "1st and goal at 1."