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

Jan 9, 2013, 1:53 PM EDT

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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.

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