By Ben Golliver
The investment group that reached a purchase and sale agreement to buy 65 percent of the Sacramento Kings from the Maloof family in January has formally submitted paperwork to the NBA to relocate the franchise to Seattle.
NBA commissioner David Stern told reporters in Minnesota on Wednesday the Seattle-based investment group led by Valiant Capital's Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has filed the paperwork in advance of the March 1 deadline. According to reports, the group's plan is to relocate the franchise in advance of the 2013-14 season.
The Associated Press reported Stern called the investment group "very strong" and the "appropriate committees have been convened to look over the proposed sale of the Kings and the prospective move to Seattle."
The filing was an anticipated procedural step. Any prospective sale of an NBA franchise is subject to ratification by the league’s Board of Governors and any prospective relocation must be approved by its relocation committee. Yahoo! Sports reported in January the NBA’s relocation committee is expected to “overwhelmingly ratify” the 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 Stern has said that Johnson will be given the opportunity to make his case in front of the Board of Governors.