co-owner Gavin Maloof officially announced a sale agreement with a Seattle-based investor. (Rocky Widner/Getty Images)
By Ben Golliver
The NBA announced Monday that the Maloof family has reached a "purchase and sale agreement" to sell the Sacramento Kings to a Seattle-based investment group led by Valiant Capital's Chris Hansen.
"The NBA received an executed Purchase and Sale Agreement for the transfer of a controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings from the Maloof family to an investor group led by Christopher Hansen," the statement read. "The proposed transaction is subject to the approval of the NBA Board of Governors and has been referred to the Board's committee process for review."
Reports of the agreement broke Sunday night. It was first reported that the two sides were finalizing negotiations for the Kings on Jan. 9.
ESPN.com reported that the Seattle group will purchase 65 percent of the Kings, a controlling interest, from the Maloofs and a minority owner, and that NBA teams were “formally notified” of the purchase agreement’s terms on Sunday. Those terms included a $525 million “valuation” of the franchise.
Hansen issued a statement on Monday confirming the agreement.
"We are happy to announce that we have entered into a binding agreement with the Maloofs to purchase a controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise," his statement read. "The sale is obviously subject to approval by the NBA Board of Governors, and we look forward to working with the League in the coming months to consummate the transaction.
"While we are not at liberty to discuss the terms of the transaction or our plans for the franchise given the confidential nature of the agreement and NBA regulations regarding public comments during a pending transaction, we would just like to extend our sincerest compliments and gratitude toward the Maloof family. Our negotiations with the family were handled with the utmost honor and professionalism and we hope to continue their legacy and be great stewards of this NBA franchise in the coming years and decades."
The Maloof family also issued a statement on Monday.
“We have always appreciated and treasured our ownership of the Kings and have had a great admiration for the fans and our team members," said Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof. "We would also like to thank Chris Hansen for his professionalism during our negotiation. Chris will be a great steward for the franchise."
Any prospective sale of an NBA franchise is subject to ratification by the league’s Board of Governors. The franchise also faces a March 1 deadline to apply for relocation to Seattle for the 2013-14 season. Yahoo! Sports reported Sunday that the NBA’s relocation committee would “overwhelmingly ratify” the franchise’s planned move to Seattle. The Kings are expected to take on the name of the SuperSonics, who played in Seattle from 1967-68 until 2008, when they were relocated to Oklahoma City and renamed the Thunder. Plans for constructing a new arena in Seattle are underway; the franchise would play in KeyArena until the new arena is complete.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has pledged to fight to keep the Kings in his city and NBA commissioner David Stern has said that Johnson will be given the opportunity to make his case in front of the Board of Governors.
Johnson issued a statement on Sunday.
"Sacramento has proven that it is a strong NBA market with a fan base that year in and year out has demonstrated a commitment to the Kings by selling out 19 of 27 seasons in a Top 20 market and owning two of the longest sellout streaks in NBA history," the statement read. "When it comes to keeping the team in our community, Sacramento is playing to win. In particular, we have been focused like a laser on identifying an ownership group that will both have the financial resources desired by the NBA and the vision to make the Kings the NBA equivalent of what the Green Bay Packers have been in the NFL."
Forbes valued the Kings franchise at $300 million in January 2012. The Kings franchise moved to Sacramento from Kansas City in 1985 and the Maloof family took majority control of the franchise in 1999.
Reigning NBA MVP LeBron James expressed astonishment on Twitter
at the franchise’s reported sale price: “So the Kings getting sold for [$525 million]!! And the owners ain’t making no money huh? What the hell we have a [lockout] for. Get the hell out of here.”