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Report: Kings buyer who would keep team in Sacramento has made formal offer to Maloofs

Jan 11, 2013, 6:04 PM EST

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As we told you earlier, the sale of the Kings won’t be a done deal until it is actually a done deal — contracts signed, press conferences convened, a river of tears flowing through the streets of Sacramento, etc.

Shortly after the initial report of the deal being done came out, our own Aaron Bruski reported that it wasn’t quite a done deal just yet, and that the Maloofs want a bidding war.

And around we go. Just as we had an earlier report today that it was (once again) essentially done and that the team will in fact be sold to the Seattle ownership group, now comes one that says a legitimate buyer has surfaced who not only has made an offer for the team, but who would keep it in Sacramento.

From Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

Mark Mastrov, the founder of 24-Hour Fitness who finished second to Joe Lacob and Peter Guber in bidding for the Warriors, told CBSSports.com Friday he has interest in buying the Kings and keeping the franchise in Sacramento.

“Definitely, there’ve been conversations,” Mastrov said from his northern California office. “Definitely there’s interest in acquiring the team and keeping it in Sacramento.”

Mastrov met with the Maloofs recently, and two league sources speaking on condition of anonymity said he has made a formal offer.

So, where does this leave us?

Well, if the league is truly interested in keeping the Kings in Sacramento and the price offered was reasonable — and, as noted in this report, it wouldn’t have to be as high as a group planning on relocating due to the cost of a loan from the city not needing to be repaid in full at the time of the sale — then they could not-so-gently nudge the Maloofs in the direction of taking this offer.

If the price offered by the Seattle group includes additional dollars in order to overpay for the right to relocate a team out of one NBA market and into another, however, that could be problematic, because the current ownership is going to want to (obviously) maximize any profits gained through a potential sale.

Again, nothing is final until it is actually final. And with one legitimate potential buyer emerging locally who would keep the team in Sacramento, things are likely to get much more complicated before they are ultimately settled.

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