Maloofs give investors deadline

Updated: April 11, 2013, 10:36 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Maloof family has set a Friday deadline for Sacramento investors seeking to buy the Kings, the Sacramento Bee reported Wednesday.

According to the report, the Maloofs have given investors until 5 p.m. PT Friday to submit a written, binding "back-up" offer that matches the deal the family has in place to sell the franchise to a group in Seattle, sources close to the deal told the newspaper.

Sacramento is trying to block a bid from a group that has a deal with the Maloof family to buy the Kings and move the franchise to Seattle next season. NBA owners are vetting both offers.

The source told the newspaper that if the Maloofs receive a matching offer by Friday, they will consider it as a serious back-up proposal should the NBA veto their tentative deal with the Seattle group.

The Sacramento bid may have another complication, however. A source told the Sports Business Daily that if the Sacramento group wins, the NBA would like them to pay the Seattle group $30 million, the amount of a non-refundable deposit that was put down by that group to secure the purchase agreement with the Maloofs. The source said the league does not want the Seattle group to be discouraged from attempting to bring a franchise back to the area even if they don't get the Kings this time.

The Friday deadline may be a last-gasp effort to keep the Kings in Sacramento. If the offer doesn't arrive or match the Seattle bid, the Maloofs have said they would end talks with the Sacramento group, the newspaper reported.

The source also described Sacramento's initial offer to buy the Kings a few weeks ago as 'not even close' to the reported bid from Seattle of $341 million made in January.

But after presentations from both sides in New York last week, NBA commissioner David Stern said the difference between the two offers no longer is an issue.

On Tuesday, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson announced a new investor to help fill the role vacated by billionaire Ron Burkle in the city's bid to keep the Kings.

Johnson said Sacramento developer Mark Friedman joined the group. The announcement came a day after Burkle backed out because of a conflict of interest stemming from his ownership stake in Relativity Sports, which manages some NBA players' careers.

Friedman said he will help build the planned arena in downtown Sacramento. He also said he had been in contact with the mayor since January and the timing of Burkle's decision had nothing to with his emergence.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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