The NBA expects to make its final decision on the fate of the Sacramento Kings on or about May 13, Commissioner David Stern said today.
If that date holds up, the decision by the NBA Board of Governors would come two full weeks after the recommendation is issued by a committee of 12 team owners studying the Kings' situation.
Speaking to a group of sports editors in New York, Stern reiterated that the proposed sale and relocation of the team to Seattle remains a difficult question for the league. "One of the cities is going to be disappointed," he said, according to a tweet by the Associated Press Sports Editors.
Earlier today, league spokesman Mike Bass said the committee vetting the two competing offers for the Kings will meet by conference call next Monday to issue its recommendation. Stern had earlier said the committee meeting could come as early as today or Friday.
The final vote by the Board of Governors couldn't come until May 8 or 9 anyway. Under NBA rules, the board, which consists of all the team owners, must wait seven business days before acting on the committee's recommendation.
The committee must decide between the Maloof family's pending sale to an investor group from Seattle and a counter-offer made by a group seeking to keep the team in Sacramento.
The Maloofs agreed to sell their 65 percent share of the team to hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer for a sweetened offer of $357 million. A group of eight investors, led by Silicon Valley executive Vivek Ranadive, has mounted a bid that matches Hansen-Ballmer's original offer of $341 million.
Last week, in a letter to the NBA, the Maloofs complained that the Ranadive bid is inadequate financially and not firm enough. But Stern told reporters last Friday that he considers the Ranadive proposal a binding offer. He added that the two bids are "in the same ballpark with respect to the net result to the selling family."
On Wednesday, state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, unveiling his long-awaited proposal to rewrite California's environmental law, said his plan would help speed up construction of a new Kings' arena at Downtown Plaza.
Stern has said a critical issue in determining the Kings' fate is the timeline for building a new arena in either city.
Call The Bee's Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.