There are conflicting reports this afternoon about whether a Sacramento group has made an offer that matches that of a Seattle contingent for the NBA Kings.
According to a Sacramento TV report, California State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said today that the Sacramento group has made an offer “that matches dollar-for-dollar the Seattle offer.”
Here’s a Tweet from Sacramento TV station KCRA:
Sen. Steinberg: “…Sacramento has made not only a fully competitive offer, but an offer that matches dollar-for-dollar the Seattle offer.”
— David Bienick (@kcrabienick) April 10, 2013
And here is the station’s full report on its interview with Steinberg.
However, a little while later, another report from a Sacramento Business Journal reporter stated that was not what Steinberg had said:
— Kelly Johnson (@KellyJohnsonBiz) April 10, 2013
(Steinberg’s office has yet to respond to a request from the Times).
The current owners, the Maloof family, agreed in January to sell 65 percent of the team to the Seattle group for $341 million, based on a total valuation of $525 million, the most ever for an NBA franchise.
The Times has learned that the Chris Hansen-led Seattle group can increase its offer for the Kings. Hansen’s group has not generally commented publicly since the news of the deal with the Maloofs in January due to an NBA gag order.
Whether Sacramento could match the offer was seen as a key point in the battle for the Kings, which could be settled when the NBA Board of Governors meets April 18-19 in New York. It was thought necessary for Sacramento to have an offer that matched that of the Seattle group to convince NBA owners to deny approval of the sale to Seattle, forcing the team to stay put.
Steinberg was among those representing Sacramento at NBA meetings in New York last week. At that time, none of the Sacramento contingent would answer directly if the Sacramento offer matched that of Seattle’s. (The lineup of the Sacramento ownership group was solidified this week with the addition of local developer Mark Friedman.)
An initial offer made by the Sacramento group in March had been deemed as not worthy of consideration by NBA commissioner David Stern. Asked at the NBA meetings last week about Sacramento’s offer, Stern said only it was “not an issue” but did not say if it matched that of Seattle’s.
We’ll have more as this story develops.