The trustee overseeing the bankruptcy auction of a 7 percent stake in the Sacramento Kings might accelerate the sale, the trustee's lawyer said today.
The auction is currently set for April but wouldn't be finalized until sometime in May - after the NBA decides whether to approve the sale of controlling interest in the team to a group of investors from Seattle.
Trustee David Flemmer and his lawyer Donald Fitzgerald have said whoever buys the 7 percent could have right to match the Seattle group's offer for the Maloof family's controlling share. If so, the auction could be pivotal to the battle for the Kings.
Fitzgerald said at a U.S. Bankruptcy Court hearing that Flemmer might choose to step up the timetable for holding the auction.
"There's lots of activity," he said in court. "It's a little like a water polo game. Things are calm on surface but there's a lot going on underneath."
Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein agreed to seal a collection of documents furnished by the Maloofs, including the agreement to sell their controlling interest to a group led by Seattle investor Chris Hansen.
The Maloofs struck a deal that values the franchise at $525 million. That implies they will get $341 million for the 65 percent they and business partner Bob Hernreich control.
Sacramento officials are assembling a competing bid that would be submitted to the NBA. Two investors, Ron Burkle and Mark Mastrov, are widely believed to be the two men who would bid on Sacramento's behalf. Mayor Kevin Johnson could officially reveal their names at his State of the City speech Thursday night.
The duo also is working on a deal for a new downtown arena - a critical piece of the proposal that would be sent to the NBA.
The league's Board of Governors is expected to vote in mid-April on the Seattle proposal. If that deal is accepted, the team would move to Seattle in time for next season.