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January 11, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Hometown buyer emerges despite report that Kings sale to Hansen is ‘done deal’

A new report this morning surfaced suggesting that a deal to sell the Sacramento Kings  to a group that would relocate them to Seattle is done.

But this afternoon another report said there was a buyer who made an offer that would keep the team in Sacramento.

Matt Steinmetz, a longtime NBA reporter and sports talk show host for Comcast SportsNet in the Bay Area, reported this morning that the transaction is “a done deal.’’ Steinmetz reported that the Maloof family, which owns the Kings, has agreed to sell the team to a group led by Chris Hansen for $525 million.

A Maloof family spokesman told The Times that he could not comment on the report. “Nothing has changed with our position that we will not comment on rumors or speculation about the Sacramento Kings franchise,” the family said in a statement.

Meanwhile, reported this afternoon that Mark Mastrov, the founder of 24-Hour Fitness who finished second in bidding for the Warriors, has made a formal offer to buy the Kings and keep the franchise in Sacramento.

“Definitely, there’ve been conversations,” Mastrov said from his northern California office. “Definitely, there’s interest in acquiring the team and keeping it in Sacramento.”

The Sacramento Bee also reported that Dale Carlsen of Sleep Train Mattress Centers Inc. said he has talked to Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and is interested in participating in a bid, and has contacted other potential investors.

The Bee reported that a limited owner in the team, Richard Benvenuti, said he had not been told of a deal.

An NBA spokesman told The Times that the league had no comment on the report. Hansen couldn’t be reached, and his representative declined to comment.

Steinmetz reported that under the terms of the deal, the Maloof family would have “no stake or decision-making’’ in the team and “are out’’ of any involvement.

An NBA source had told The Times on Thursday that a sticking point in the negotiations was that the Maloofs wanted to retain a small percentage of the team and to have some say in how the  team is run.

Reports began to surface late Tuesday night that the two sides were working on a deal, possibly for more than two weeks. The Times has confirmed that negotiations have been ongoing.

The NBA has an annual deadline of March 1 for teams to apply for relocation. It’s thought Hansen’s group would like to have the sale completed so it can apply to relocate the team and play in Seattle next season It would play at KeyArena for two years while a new arena is constructed.

Hansen has a deal with the city of Seattle and King County to build a new arena in Sodo once he and his investment group secure a team.

Plans to build a $490 million arena were approved by the City Council and the King County Council last October.

Seattle has been without an NBA team since 2008 when the Sonics were relocated to Oklahoma City by new owner Clay Bennett.

Hansen has spent the last year laying the ground work for an arena deal and attempting to buy a team to move to Seattle.

After reports surfaced Wednesday of a possible deal to buy the Kings, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson said he would attempt to find a local buyer to keep the team there. There has been no additional word on those efforts.

Comments | Topics: Chris Hansen, kings, Sonics


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