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Report: Maloof family near deal to sell Kings to Hansen’s Seattle syndicate

Jan 9, 2013, 1:53 PM EDT


Seattle appears about to get the Sonics back.

And Sacramento fans are about to take the place of Seattle fans as “good fan base screwed over by bad ownership.”

We told you earlier today that there had been some buzz building that a deal was nearing where the Maloof family would sell the Sacramento Kings to Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer’s Seattle group. A group that already has arena plans well underway and just waiting on a team.

Now Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and the NBC Sports Network says that deal is near done.

Wow. That frankly is overpaying for a franchise — that will be the biggest sale price in NBA history — but we have known for a while that Hansen was willing to overpay to get a team in his building.

The deal is not finalized and the Maloofs are a house divided and one known to change direction on a whim. But this appears very close to real and is something David Stern had reportedly pushed for behind the scenes. Wojnarowski reports the Maloofs would keep a minority ownership in the team, but would have no say in how the franchise is run.

The team would move up next season then play a couple seasons in the old Key Arena while a new building is constructed. Plans for that building are well underway and are in an environmental review phase. But the financing is in place.

This is great news for Seattle, a large and passionate NBA fan base that deserves an NBA team. The franchise can take the Sonics name back, it was left when the Sonics became the Thunder in Oklahoma City.

But this sucks for the fans in Sacramento, who did nothing wrong but have ownership that made bad investments elsewhere that impacted their ability to run an NBA team. Mayor Kevin Johnson fought hard to get a workable deal in place to build a new arena in Sacramento that would keep the Kings, but it required a buy in from the Maloof family and they just would not.

  1. bucrightoff - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    The NBA, where who gives a flying eff about our fans happens. I bet Seattle fans feel ill that they have to be taking the team from a similar type market. Davis Stern is a cancer to basketball.

    • anotheryx - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:08 PM

      I don’t think many Seattle fans would feel ill. A tiny bit of guilt? Maybe.

      • ss3walkman - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:14 PM

        As a Seattle resident I hate to get a team this way. Although it is a different situation than Sonics to OKC I still wish we were getting a team from scratch.

        I don’t want the Kings to become Sonics. But if so I would like for them to keep the name Kings or start with a new name in general.

        My favorite team of all time will be Bibby, Christie, Peja, Webber, Divac and Bobby J off the bench. The match between them and Lakers in the playoffs was legendary.

        Oh yea, we didn’t know Clay was going to move the team to Oklahoma

    • hstrymkr18387 - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:43 PM

      I’m a Seattle fan and this is the best news I’ve heard in a long time. Do I feel ill? No way. California has 4 basketball teams! Losing 1 of those 4 is NOT THE SAME as an entire state/region losing their team. Sonics were rooted on by the whole state of washington, plus montana idaho and canada. Lucky for Sacramento fans they still have Golden State, Clips and the Lakeshow. Still sucks, but dont even try to compare it to Washington losing the Sonics. That was exponentially worse

  2. madpunter88 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Wouldn’t it make some sense to keep the name Seattle Kings rather than reverting to the Sonics? Since Seattle is in King County and all.

  3. praetorian12 - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Seattle fans feel ill about taking a team from other fans… but feel it’s better than what happened to them. Hansen has been 100% transparent about his intentions form day one, unlike that snake Clay Bennett. Of course, that’s no solace to Sacramento fans…. but at least it’s far more honorable.

    • gianthuskydolphin - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:35 PM

      Everyone knew Clay was taking the Sonics to OKC

      • badintent - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:10 PM

        You damn right ! anyone that thumbs down is either an idiot or a liar.
        Shultz was denying from day one that the team wojuld be moved, which meant he knew what the cards were and how they would be dealt. And Stern was on board on day 2.As a lawyer, his first job for his client, Clay was to lie.Gary Payton was a great trash talker on the court but his rants about Seattle getting hosed on that deal are real. The Key Area BS was just all that. The team had Both strong corporate and public support for steady revenues. Clay is a redneck farmer with great pollitical connections for his team in OKC.One only needs to look at the explosion of Starbuck shops in OKC to see the real deal that Howard and Clay put together.I have nothing against the good folks of OKC, they deserved a new NBA team, not Seattle’s

      • blueintown - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:20 PM

        Not sure an “explosion of Starbucks shops” is unique to OKC, brother. There’s one on every corner.

  4. rj2323 - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    I’m wet

  5. specialagentjohnnyutah - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    This is great and all but yes it’s not quite as exciting considering another fan base is getting worked over like Sonics fans already did. Hell I say as a tribute to the Sacramento fans keep the Kings name and start with a clean slate of Seattle basketball.

    • BigBeachBall - Jan 9, 2013 at 7:12 PM

      Seattle gets a hard-on whenever they see alliteration:

      Seattle Seahawks
      Seattle Sounders
      Seattle Storm

      Keeping the kings name is unlikely if the seattle group gets the franchise….imo

  6. trippymane - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Wooooo!!!!whoooo!!! Go sonics!!!! Kings fans just know we are not happy about taking your team and we will not treat you guys the way okc fans treated us when they took our team because we know what it feels like. Anyways goo sonics!!!

  7. Tim_Gilmour - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    Bittersweet for Seattle cause they know what it feels like. Only positive is that one screwed over city gets its team backs. Sucks for Kings fans. F the Maloofs.

    • mazblast - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      Yeah, but remember, Sacramento got its team at Kansas City’s expense. KC screamed, but conveniently forgot that they got the team at Cincinnati’s expense. Cincinnati screamed, but conveniently forgot that they got the team at Rochester’s expense.

  8. beagle11 - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    I wish smaller markets could somehow share a team… Split home games. I know the logistics would be impossible, just wishing out loud. Would solve a lot of problems

    • broncobeta - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      How on earth would that solve more problems than it causes?

      Cities were built to hate each other. That’s what makes sports work.

      Chicago hates New York.

      New York hates Chicago.

      LA hates Boston.

      Everyone hates LA.

      • beagle11 - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:43 PM

        I didn’t realize Chicago and NY were small markets. I was thinking more along the lines of a KC/St Louis Partnership. It solves the problem of giving smaller cities a chance to root for a home team without the pressure of filling a building 41 times a year. It could also potentially double the television market and revenue for a smaller market team. Think about it; St Louis/KC, Toronto/Montreal, Sacto/Vancouver

      • dannymac17 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        Woah Woah Woah

        LA hates everyone cause they are a spec on the testicles of a gnat compared to us.

        We don’t care about Boston. Thats a town full of losers.

      • badintent - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:15 PM

        NY hates Cowgirls more than we hate Chicago. But everyone does hate LA , what’s not to hate ? LOL But we do hate Red Sox much more than Angels.

    • mazblast - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:34 PM

      It’s been tried. When the Cincinnati Royals were sold, it was to be the Kansas City-Omaha Kings, with some home games in St. Louis. The latter quickly fell off the list, and Omaha was abandoned soon after that.

  9. sweetnlow44 - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    As a long time Sonic fan this is great news. But absolutely disgusting and horrible news for Kings fans. Fans shouldn’t be the losers when incompetent owners are the ones who screwed everything up. At least the potential buyers AND David Stern aren’t lying to the Kings fans at this point saying they’re going to make a “good faith” effort to keep the team in Sacramento like those lying Okies and their bff, Stern.

    • borderline1988 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:33 PM

      I don’t understand the whole pitying the fans thing.

      If a team is losing money, it should move. This isn’t the fans’ team, somebody actually owns the team. That person has to be making money or ponying up money to support the team.

      What else is there to say? If you live in a small market and can’t support a professional sports team, root for the nearest city. Or move.

      • blueintown - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:09 PM

        Simple economics is so much more difficult to conceptualize than “the league is fixed and David Stern is trying to destroy my village”.

  10. rajbais - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Good, this is the first good move that the Maloof Brothers have made since the Rick Adelman days.

    After they let Rick go they have been a bad franchise since.

    Do the people of Sacramento a favor don’t come back to town!!!

  11. rollteal - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    This is good news for Fans of Seattle And of the supersonics. But a real shame for the people in Sacramento And the Kings franchise the long history that it does actually have.

  12. birdsflynorth206 - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    As a Kings fan living in Seattle i’m excited, but I’m not excited Sacramento is losing a team. Atleast the Maloof’s are gone and the Kings will have real owners who want to win

  13. cosanostra71 - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    nice. Reign Man!

    • Jackson Scofield - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:27 PM

      Already taken by a new women’s soccer team

  14. mungman69 - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Small market teams just have trouble making money. There just isn’t the money in Sacramento that there is in LA.

    • blueintown - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:20 PM

      Watch it, mungman. The people who frequent this site don’t take kindly to economic logic.

  15. makeham98 - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Having a team share home games between two smaller markets is a novel idea. They could be renamed the Kansas City-Omaha Kings. Can’t miss. Cincinnati Royals fans agree.

    • mazblast - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:47 PM

      You must be as old as I am. The Royals, who played less than two miles from where I lived, were run even more poorly than the Kings are now.

  16. jshawaii22 - Jan 9, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    do we get KD back? without him who would want to go to the game?

  17. shaolin916 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    If this deal goes down it will be absolutely devastating to the sacramento region. Our economy has taken a huge hit and Kings basketball is one of the few things people around here can have pride in (although the maloofs have put a losing product on the floor for the past six seasons, you wouldnt tell for how passionate kings fans are). Sacramento doesnt have any other sports teams! The kings are all we have, and winning or not we need them!

    I pray that ron burkle can come in at the buzzer keep OUR team in OUR city!


  18. jayquintana - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    Darn, what happened with the Maloofs? How’d they lose their money? Was Antoine Walker their financial adviser?

    • badintent - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      |They got beatdown in the recession in their Vegas casinos,plus inter -family fighting after the old man died over the $$$, the bimbi wanted to cash out so they could go shopping on Rodeo Drive. Perfect Storm of $$$ crashing.

  19. 13datsyuk13 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    Don’t worry kings fans you can have your franchise back in 10 years. Seattle fans won’t support a losing team and it will take that long for the new to wear off. Sorry about your loss.

  20. roeski - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    Taking Clay’s faults out on us is ridiculous. OKC fans have not “mistreated” Sonics fans and I’m tired of your mouths. We had nothing to do with the way it went down. Now your taking someone elses team, hypocrites. I hope Sac fans deface you as much as you have us. #Thunderup

    • roeski - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:32 PM


  21. raidmagic - Jan 9, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    How do they get to stay minority owners when they are selling the team for 500 million? Anyone want to buy my house for a million dollars? I get to stay on the deed.

  22. fm31970 - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    I bet the NBA owners only approve this deal if the Maloofs are left out COMPLETELY. Stern doesn’t want the Maloofs involved in any way, shape, or form regarding anything NBA related.

    I have to wonder if the NBA is kicking a few million to help make the Maloofs go away, and really, can you blame them?

    I’m still not convinced this approval is a slam dunk, though. $500M is a lot to turn down, but there is still some negotiating to do. Name your price Maloofs, as long as you are cut off for good.

  23. kw27p - Jan 9, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    The NBA is a terrible overall product. What only about 5 teams can actually win the title. How is this competitive? Its the most predictable league in all sports.An absolute joke.

    • jprcox - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:06 PM

      5 teams???..I count 3 at most.

      The cap needs to be enforced like the NFL – not just a tax.

  24. glink123 - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    Steve Ballmer can give you 15 billion reasons why this deal is a slam dunk. Zero chance of this not getting done.

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