NBA Commissioner David Stern told reporters Wednesday a decision on the fate of the Sacramento Kings is still two to three weeks away, while multiple sources say a competing offer from Sacramento investors falls far short of Chris Hansen's bid to buy the team.
Stern made his comments after a meeting of the NBA's joint finance and relocation committee debating the fate of the Kings.
Stern told reporters the committee would likely meet again next week either in person or via teleconference, after which it is likely to issue a recommendation to all of the league's owners, The Seattle Times Bob Condotta reported on Twitter.
Stern also said both Seattle and Sacramento groups could be given a chance to make another presentation at the meeting.
"I'd be charitable to say the first week of May, but it could slide a bit," Stern said of when a vote could happen.
There were some conflicting signs to emerge from the meetings, as San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt - chairman of the Board of Governors - told reporters following the meeting the possibility of expansion was still "on the table." But Stern discounted that, saying there are no current plans and expansion wasn't discussed.
Holt also said a decision is "not even close."
Meantime, an NBA spokesman confirmed to multiple sources Wednesday the Sacramento group has submitted a formal counter proposal to Hansen's purchase agreement with the majority owner of the Kings.
The Sacramento Bee reports a source tells them the bid from Sacramento is a "non-binding term sheet," which calls for the Maloof family to terminate their deal with Hansen before negotiating a final offer and preventing the NBA owners from even voting on Hansen's proposal.
The signed purchase agreement with the Maloof family calls for Hansen to buy their 65 percent share for $341 million. Just last week he agreed to up his offer, revaluing the team at $550 million for an additional $25 million.
KING 5's Chris Daniels reports a source close to the negotiations says the Sacramento proposal fails to match Hansen's offer.
The Bee reports the Maloofs have reportedly sent a letter to the NBA saying they still want to move forward with the Hansen deal and are urging a vote as soon as possible.
The news of the Sacramento offer comes on the same day Hansen closed on the final piece of land needed to build a new Seattle arena.
"It's been two and half years of work. We're done. We own everything we need to own," Hansen's real estate consultant Bill Vipond told KING 5's Daniels.
Vipond said the last deal is for three lots east of First Ave. South for $9,024,600. The property is currently home to Mac's Smokehouse and the 1st Avenue Deli.
The 45,000 square foot lot is the southwest corner of Hansen's proposed arena development.
According to Vipond, Hansen will have ultimately spent over $65 million on land, with legal fees and other costs pushing his investment to somewhere between $70 and $80 million.
Vipond says Hansen paid cash for all of the property, sending a strong message to the NBA owners who'll ultimately vote whether to approve his purchase of the Kings and relocation to Seattle.
"That's commitment," he says.