What had been viewed as a longshot bid for the Sacramento Kings won’t happen, as minority owner John Kehriotis said today he will not pursue buying the team.
The news was Tweeted out by TV station KCRA in Sacramento a little while ago:
— David Bienick (@kcrabienick) March 29, 2013
Kehriotis owns about 12 percent of the Kings and had said last month he would try to exercise his right of first refusal to buy the team, also announcing plans for a privately-funded arena in the Natomas area, where the team plays now.
That, however, is at odds with the proposal the city of Sacramento favored, to put the arena downtown. Kehriotis was also not part of the ownership group being assembled by mayor Kevin Johnson, so his bid for the team was being regarded as a potential backup plan, at best.
This is more news that simplifies the process going forward as the NBA decides whether to approve a purchase of the team by a Chris Hansen-led group that would relocate the Kings to Seattle beginning next season, or disapprove the sale and force the team to remain in Sacramento.
Hansen will lead a Seattle contingent that will meet before a group of NBA owners in New York on Wednesday, while Johnson will head up a Sacramento contingent that will also include the major investors in the ownership group that has the backing of the city, including Ron Burkle and current Golden State Warriors co-owner Vivek Ranadive.
While the Seattle group has remained silent since the agreement to buy the team from the Maloof family was announced in January, Sacramento’s side has continued with what appears to be a pretty well-orchestrated media blitz to state its case. That included this article published Thursday by NBA.com in which Johnson said he thinks the Maloofs “probably” prefer for the team to remain in Sacramento.
With the Maloofs remaining silent, that’s something that can’t be otherwise confirmed.
Expect to hear some news from the Seattle side early next week, however, as it has said it would release some figures from the season ticket priority list campaign it began a few weeks ago. There are now less than three days to get on that list, which you can access here.
The numbers from the wait list will be included in the presentation Hansen and the Seattle group will make to the NBA on Wednesday, a meeting deemed crucial by most observers toward determining which city will ultimately get the Kings.
While Hansen and the Maloofs have an agreement on a deal, all transfers of franchises are subject to NBA approval, and if the league does not approve the sale, then the Maloofs will either have the option of keeping the team (considered unlikely) or selling to the Sacramento group.
A final vote is expected when the full NBA Board of Governors meets in New York April 18-19.