The Sacramento Kings have new owners, and at least for now, one of them isn’t named Chris Hansen. The Maloof family sold the controlling interest of the team to a group from Sacramento.
The NBA wanted the team to stay in Sacramento. Now it has local owners to make sure they don’t go anywhere.
The Maloofs sold 65 percent of the team for $347 million to the group headed by Vivek Ranadive, a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur. “I’m humbled by the support by the fans, the NBA and the other owners, and I am very grateful for the opportunity that we have here,” he told News 10 in Sacramento.
Ranadive will front $240 million of the sale price. “The team belongs to the fans, and we hope to be good stewards for the team,” he said.
Outgoing NBA commissioner David Stern, who publicly lobbied Sacramento to up its effort to keep the team from moving to Seattle, said the deal should be completed quickly. “I think there’s likely going to be a closing sooner rather than later,” he said.
What we don’t know is what happens to Chris Hansen’s purchase of seven percent of the Kings from bankruptcy court. Right now, Ranadive isn’t worried about that. “I’m really excited about the Kings,” he said. “It’s the start of a new era.”
The NBA is expected to green light this sale next week, with it becoming final at the end of the month.
Not that it makes much difference now, but there are still plenty of hurdles for this new Kings ownership group when it comes to getting the new arena deal that helped sway the NBA owners to keep the team in Sacramento.
A lawsuit has been filed to prevent any public money from being used to build it. Right now, Sacramento taxpayers would likely be on the hook for over $250 million.
An initiative has been filed to put the arena deal up for a public vote. Jim Cathcart is with the group STOP, Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork. “It’s not about the team moving or staying or any other thing,” he said.
“It is about public money going to a professional sports arena, which most people can’t afford to go to, and a commitment of a big chunk of city resources and assets.”
Signature gathering will begin soon.
But whether Sacramento’s arena deal fails or not doesn’t really impact the reality that the Kings aren’t going anywhere.