Posted January 21, 2013

NBA announces Maloofs’ deal to sell Kings to Seattle

Ben Golliver, Chris Hansen, David Stern, Gavin Maloof, Sacramento Kings
Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof announced a sale agreement with a Seattle-based investor. (Rocky Widner/Getty Images)

Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof officially announced a sale agreement with a Seattle-based investor. (Rocky Widner/Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

The NBA announced Monday that the Maloof family has reached a “purchase and sale agreement” to sell the Sacramento Kings to a Seattle-based investment group led by Valiant Capital’s Chris Hansen.

“The NBA received an executed Purchase and Sale Agreement for the transfer of a controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings from the Maloof family to an investor group led by Christopher Hansen,” the statement read. “The proposed transaction is subject to the approval of the NBA Board of Governors and has been referred to the Board’s committee process for review.”

Reports of the agreement broke Sunday night. It was first reported that the two sides were finalizing negotiations for the Kings on Jan. 9.

ESPN.com reported that the Seattle group will purchase 65 percent of the Kings, a controlling interest, from the Maloofs and a minority owner, and that NBA teams were “formally notified” of the purchase agreement’s terms on Sunday. Those terms included a $525 million “valuation” of the franchise.

Hansen issued a statement on Monday confirming the agreement.

“We are happy to announce that we have entered into a binding agreement with the Maloofs to purchase a controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise,” his statement read. “The sale is obviously subject to approval by the NBA Board of Governors, and we look forward to working with the League in the coming months to consummate the transaction.

“While we are not at liberty to discuss the terms of the transaction or our plans for the franchise given the confidential nature of the agreement and NBA regulations regarding public comments during a pending transaction, we would just like to extend our sincerest compliments and gratitude toward the Maloof family. Our negotiations with the family were handled with the utmost honor and professionalism and we hope to continue their legacy and be great stewards of this NBA franchise in the coming years and decades.”

The Maloof family also issued a statement on Monday.

“We have always appreciated and treasured our ownership of the Kings and have had a great admiration for the fans and our team members,” said Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof. “We would also like to thank Chris Hansen for his professionalism during our negotiation.  Chris will be a great steward for the franchise.”

Any prospective sale of an NBA franchise is subject to ratification by the league’s Board of Governors. The franchise also faces a March 1 deadline to apply for relocation to Seattle for the 2013-14 season. Yahoo! Sports reported Sunday that the NBA’s relocation committee would “overwhelmingly ratify” the franchise’s planned move to Seattle.  The Kings are expected to take on the name of the SuperSonics, who played in Seattle from 1967-68 until 2008, when they were relocated to Oklahoma City and renamed the Thunder. Plans for constructing a new arena in Seattle are underway; the franchise would play in KeyArena until the new arena is complete.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has pledged to fight to keep the Kings in his city and NBA commissioner David Stern has said that Johnson will be given the opportunity to make his case in front of the Board of Governors.

Johnson issued a statement on Sunday.

“Sacramento has proven that it is a strong NBA market with a fan base that year in and year out has demonstrated a commitment to the Kings by selling out 19 of 27 seasons in a Top 20 market and owning two of the longest sellout streaks in NBA history,” the statement read. “When it comes to keeping the team in our community, Sacramento is playing to win. In particular, we have been focused like a laser on identifying an ownership group that will both have the financial resources desired by the NBA and the vision to make the Kings the NBA equivalent of what the Green Bay Packers have been in the NFL.”

Forbes valued the Kings franchise at $300 million in January 2012. The Kings franchise moved to Sacramento from Kansas City in 1985 and the Maloof family took majority control of the franchise in 1999.

Reigning NBA MVP LeBron James expressed astonishment on Twitter at the franchise’s reported sale price: “So the Kings getting sold for [$525 million]!! And the owners ain’t making no money huh? What the hell we have a [lockout] for. Get the hell out of here.”

22 comments
madmanjoe
madmanjoe

i used to attend Sacramento games when they were good. Everyone liked the Maloof's then and then they built The Palms. Their investment in the Kings seemed to be second. The Maloof's should have used the Palms money to build their own arena and not put it on the people of Sacramento. I have since moved from Sacramento to the Pacific Northwest and I am thrilled to have the Kings back. The people of Seattle love their team and will support the team. To think, this would never even been an option if a stupid arena would have been built in Sac as they have been trying to do for the last decade or so. I would move to if my house was falling apart......

Robert85
Robert85

Dad makes the fortune. Kids slowly lose it.

ScottHoward
ScottHoward

Why didn't the NBA just grant OKC an expansion team to begin with?  All fans have left to root for is laundry, and with laundry so up for sale I'm not sure why we fans even bother.   I used to be a huge Hartford Whaler and NHL fan until the owner lied and stole the team away and to this day I have watched hockey ruin what little good it had left with a laughing smile, and I am not a fan anymore.   The NBA would feel no different if I were a Kings or Sonics fan.

JonMoore
JonMoore

The valuation was high because SEATTLE wanted the Sonics Back. thats the only reason why it was soo high.

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

These obscene valuations exist because politicians continue to help billionaire owners steal public money to build arenas. There is no reasonable justification for using taxpayer money to build a sports facility. Ironically the net result of a new arena is to raise ticket prices to where the average fan cannot afford to attend a game.

RandallAllen
RandallAllen

Kevin Johnson, we loved ya when you played with the Suns but Sacramento will never be the equivalent of Green Bay and its Packers.  That distinction belongs to Boston and its Celtics--or maybe Phoenix and its Suns since that was the first pro franchise in the Valley.  But not Sacramento.

RAYANSELMO
RAYANSELMO

Those footsteps you hear are me walking away from the NBA. For how long, I dunno. Not looking back, not making plans.

m.guszak
m.guszak

All this nonsense was a result of that creep Howard Schultz and Starbucks screwing the city of Seattle in the first place. Seattle jumped through hoops for that guy and in the end, he sold them off to some guys that he knew were going to move them to OKC and this was when Starbucks was making record profits. He is the bad guy in this drama.

mickeyphil
mickeyphil

The whole fiasco is on Stern and Bennett.  

BrownLanet
BrownLanet

I'm happy that Seattle will get a team after  Stern allowed OKC to steal the Sonics, but allowing the Kings to get stolen is equally as bad.

Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask
Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask

Catch AIDS and go to hell Maloofs!! No knock on Hansen group and congrats on getting sonics back where they belong but good luck with that sorry family still allowed a minority share.

m.guszak
m.guszak

 @ScottHoward Not nearly enough talent out there for an expansion team. The Bobcats cannot exist and still allow for an expansion team.

humphreys
humphreys

 @WilyCoyoteSuperGenius There is no public money per se in the Seattle Arena. Rather, there is s public investment (in the form of bond proceeds secured by the new arena and no other source and personally guaranteed private investors and not by the city). Seattle will make an investment return on the bond proceeds, plus additional sales taxes, property taxes, etc. generated in the area. The bottom line is that there is not one penny of taxpayer money in the proposed stadium deal. 

beckk
beckk

 @BrownLanet

 I agree two wrongs don't make a right. As a Seattle fan still done with the NBA, but I do like Chris Hansen unlike bennett you know he wants to move the team

Ryan28
Ryan28

Dude, this is sports chill out.  Catch AIDS and go to Hell is probably a little over the top don't you think?  You should be embarassed to write such crap.

RAYANSELMO
RAYANSELMO

I hope OKC wins the NBA title, just to pay Seattle back for what they've done to Kings fans.