In the latest in a series of reports today out of Sacramento on the status of the city’s offer for the NBA Kings, the Sacramento Bee is now reporting that the Maloof family has set a Friday deadline to receive a bid that matches that of Seattle’s.
Here is the Bee’s story, noting that the offer would be considered as a backup bid to be accepted if the NBA does not approve the offer made by a Seattle group that was accepted by the Maloofs in January. If a matching bid is not received by Friday at 5 p.m., the Bee reports the Maloofs — the current controlling owners of the Kings — have said it would no longer consider offers from Sacramento.
The Bee story came about an hour after other conflicting reports emerged about whether Sacramento had already submitted an offer that would match that of the Chris Hansen-led Seattle group. California State Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg was quoted as saying by KCRA TV that Sacramento’s offer had matched that of Seattle’s “dollar-for-dollar.”
However, a later report from the Sacramento Business Journal quoted a Steinberg spokesman saying he meant to say only that the offer was competitive. Steinberg’s office has not responded 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 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 is 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’s 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. If Sacramento does not have a matching offer — or one the Maloofs say they will accept — the NBA is far more likely to approve the sale to the Seattle group.
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.