January 9, 2013 at 9:49 AM
Report: Sacramento Kings are headed to Seattle
UPDATE: 12:45 p.m. | Capping a flurry of rumors that began Tuesday night, Yahoo! Sports reported Wednesday that the Sacramento Kings are in the process of being sold to a group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer that would have the team playing in Seattle in 2013-14.
Yahoo! Sports, citing league sources, said the team will be sold for $500 million and would play at KeyArena for two seasons while an arena in the SoDo District is constructed.
Rumors began circulating Tuesday of an imminent sale, though all involved officially declined comment or said they had nothing to say at the moment.
An NBA spokesman said Wednesday that the league had no comment, and Hansen also had no comment. The Kings released a statement saying they would not comment on rumors and that they had nothing to report at this time.
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.
The rumor originated in a Tweet from Daina Falk, a food blogger known as “The Hungry Fan’’ and also the daughter of longtime NBA agent David Falk, whose clients included Michael Jordan and a number of former Sonics, including longtime team president Wally Walker.
Daina Falk sent out a Tweet Tuesday reading: “So I hear that the Seattle Kings is officially a done deal! The Maloofs (the family that owns the Kings) finally sold the ailing Sacramento team.’’
When questioned about the Tweet, she responded that she had heard it from someone who would know, and she also referred to the Tweet on her Facebook page saying to wait and see what happens over the next few days.
Those Tweets and her Facebook message were all deleted by Wednesday morning.
The Kings told Sacramento media they would not comment on every rumor and that “if we had something to announce, we’d announce it.’’ The Sacramento Bee reported via Twitter that the NBA said it had no comment.
Hansen, the hedge-fund manager who has led the effort to build a new arena in Seattle and return the NBA to the city, could not be reached for comment.
The Maloof family, which has owned the Kings since 1998, has for years been attempting to get a new arena built in Sacramento or move the team, efforts that at the moment appear at a standstill. The family had been talking to officials from Virginia Beach, Va., about a proposal to build an arena there. But officials in that city announced on Tuesday that those plans were dead for now.
The Maloofs have publicly stated that they do not intend to sell the team. But varying reports have surfaced in recent weeks that they might be willing to sell for $500 million or more, regarded as far above what the team is worth.
The NBA deadline for requesting the right to relocate in time for the 2013-14 season is March 1.
Hansen has said he would be willing to buy a team and have it play in KeyArena for a season or two while a proposed arena in the SoDo district is constructed.
Plans to build a $490 million arena were approved by the City Council and the King County Council last October.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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