NBA expects May 13 vote on Kings

Published: Friday, Apr. 26, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Sunday, Apr. 28, 2013 - 9:37 am

The painstaking saga of the Sacramento Kings will finally get decided on or around May 13 – almost five months after the team's owners accepted a purchase offer from investors in Seattle.

Fans in both cities should get a good idea about the outcome as early as next Monday.

NBA Commissioner David Stern, speaking Thursday to a group of sports editors in New York, said the league's board of governors will vote on or about May 13 on whether the Kings should stay in Sacramento or move to Seattle.

If the timetable holds, the vote would come two weeks after the board is scheduled to get a recommendation from a group of 12 team owners in charge of vetting the competing purchase offers from investors in Sacramento and Seattle.

That group – consisting of the NBA's relocation and finance advisory committees – is scheduled to issue its recommendation Monday following a conference call, said NBA spokesman Mike Bass.

It's believed the committee vote will heavily influence the board of governors, which consists of the owners of all 30 teams. It remained unclear Thursday whether the league would announce the results of Monday's meeting.

Stern's announcement brings some clarity to the process of deciding the Kings' fate, even as it drags the waiting out even longer for fans in Sacramento and Seattle.

Earlier, Stern had said the committee vote might come at the end of this week. He noted that under NBA rules, the board of governors had to wait at least seven business days before acting on the committee recommendation, implying a final decision sometime in early May.

A May 13 vote would come more than three weeks after the board completed its annual spring meeting in New York – the time when the decision was originally expected.

Stern reiterated Thursday that the vote will be a difficult one. "Our concern is that there has to be a loser," he told the editors in New York.

The Maloof family agreed Jan. 21 to sell its 65 percent share of the team for $341 million to a Seattle group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The Seattle investors have since sweetened their offer to $357 million.

Sacramento has mounted its own bid. Eight investors led by Silicon Valley executive Vivek Ranadive submitted an offer matching Seattle's original bid.

Last week, in a letter to the NBA, the Maloofs complained that the Ranadive bid is inadequate financially and not firm enough. But Stern said 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."

A source familiar with the situation said neither the Maloofs nor the competing investor groups will be allowed on Monday's conference call.

Call The Bee's Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.

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