The Sacramento Kings are reportedly close to being sold to a Seattle-area investment group.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Maloof family is close to selling the Sacramento Kings to a Seattle-based group led by investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for roughly $500 million.
The Maloof family is finalizing an agreement to sell the Sacramento Kings to a group that hopes to move the franchise to Seattle for the 2013-14 season, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The deal will sell the Kings for approximately $500 million to a group led by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft chairman Steve Ballmer. The group is seeking to relocate the franchise to Seattle's KeyArena for the 2013-14 season.
The Seattle group's plans, with support of the NBA, is to play two seasons in KeyArena before moving into a new Seattle arena, sources said.
Eric Rose, a spokesperson for the Maloof family, offered a "no comment".
As we have said for nearly a year, we will not comment on rumors or speculation about the Sacramento Kings franchise.
Seattle SuperSonics legend Gary Payton offered this on Twitter.
Been a crazy and incredible day...very very excited for my Seattle Sonics to be back
The Kings franchise would fill the void left when the SuperSonics, who played in Seattle dating back to 1967-68, relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008 and took on the Thunder moniker. The new Seattle franchise would have the ability to regain the SuperSonics nickname and logo under the terms of the move to Oklahoma City.
SBNation's SacTown Royalty is covering the story in full as it develops right here.
Via Tom Ziller, Kings fans are circulating a petition to NBA commissioner David Stern.
Basketball fans should not have to choose between Sacramento and Seattle. Both of these cities have proven their worth in the best of times and in the worst of times. It is time for David Stern and the NBA owners to right one wrong and prevent another. If the team is available for purchase, it is time for a Sacramento buyer to be granted an opportunity to match any offer the Maloofs extend to potential buyers. It is time for Seattle to be granted a new expansion team for the 2015-16 season. Seattle deserves a team after what happened to their Sonics. Sacramento deserves to keep the Kings in Sacramento after supporting the franchise for more than a quarter century and putting together a viable arena financing plan last year. Sacramento has one of the most passionate fan bases in NBA history, which is illustrated in the above documentary, Small Market, Big Heart. #HereWeStayNBA
My SI.com story here has some background on Stern's recent comments and the Kings' financial struggles if you're interested.
I did a radio hit on the situation with Travis Demers and Josh Wilcox on 1080 AM The Fan. Audio here.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter