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New reports say Sacramento Kings on ‘clear path’ to Seattle

The latest reports say the owners of the Sacramento Kings have a 'clear path' to Seattle and investor Chris Hansen was just waiting to say anything until after the Seahawks season ended. (AP image)

New reports out Monday say the owners of the Sacramento Kings have no interest in selling the team to anyone who wants to keep them in California, with one industry source telling NBA insider David Aldridge “they’ve got a clean path” to Seattle.

While no one has officially confirmed an offer, the reporter who first broke news of a deal to sell the Kings to a group led by investor Chris Hansen reported Monday the NBA held a conference call last week with members of the league’s relocation committee to outline deal points on the proposed sale.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, sources say NBA officials listed “a non-binding set of deal points” for a $525 million sale of majority ownership. Wojnarowski says work continues to finalize the agreement despite several reports out of Sacramento saying other potential investors have expressed a strong desire to buy the team from the Maloof family and keep it in Sacramento.

“The truth is the truth, and unless there’s some kind of amazing change of heart or desire, the Kings are leaving Sacramento for Seattle. It’s just a matter of when the announcement comes,” Aldridge said Monday.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said Monday he’s spoken to the Hansen investment group about the deal.

“My staff has touched base with their staff. Something is going on. There is clearly discussions going on, but there is not a finish line that I know about,” said McGinn.

Aldridge said Hansen wanted to wait until after the Seahawks season ended before going public with his offer for the Kings. He said Hansen is close to Paul Allen, who owns the football team along with the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers and wanted to avoid upstaging him.

Aldridge reported the Maloof family decided about a month ago to finally sell the team and is “tired” of trying to get an arena deal done in Sacramento after more than a decade.

Wojnarowski reported the non-binding agreement would include 53 percent of the franchise owned by the Maloof family and an additional 12 percent from minority owner Bob Hernreich.

While new reports over the weekend said the Maloofs were still seeking a way to maintain some stake in the team and a say in its operations, numerous sources have told both Aldridge and Wojnarowski “it’s a dealbreaker,” and Hansen wants them completely out.

The Kings must file for relocation to Seattle by March 1 in order to guarantee they can play in Seattle’s Key Arena in the upcoming NBA season. Sources have said they would play an additional season there before moving to a new arena in SoDo.

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