Mayor Kevin Johnson, confirming that the Maloofs have agreed to sell the Kings to Sacramento investors, said today the deal "has been signed on both ends" and "the money has been wired."
Speaking at midtown restaurant Bacon & Butter following a morning segment on News10, Johnson said the deal still hasn't closed but he doesn't see any roadblocks holding up the transfer of team ownership to a group led by Silicon Valley tech executive Vivek Ranadive.
"We're hoping to get it all done within the next week or so and the (NBA) board of governors will vote and I don't anticipate any surprises," he said.
Current co-owner George Maloof said, "It's a difficult day for us, but it's time for a new chapter."
He told The Bee that he believes his family did the right thing agreeing to the sale. "It's time for us to move on. We're very happy to sell to a group of good guys who will keep the team in Sacramento."
The deal values the franchise at $535 million and pays the Maloofs and their partner Bob Hernreich around $347 million. That sum isn't all cash, but includes the assumption of debts the Maloofs owe to the NBA and the City of Sacramento.
George Maloof applauded Johnson, with whom he publicly feuded after the family abandoned an arena deal in Sacramento last year. "We have to hand it to the mayor, man. He did a great job," Maloof said.
The mayor planned a press conference at City Hall at 10 a.m. today.
The agreement, which became public late Thursday, came barely a day after the NBA Board of Governors, meeting in Dallas, blocked a proposed move of the Kings to Seattle. The 22-8 vote snuffed out the Maloofs' plans to sell their share of the team to Seattle investors Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer for $406 million.
It wasn't clear how soon the Ranadive group's purchase would get approval from the NBA. NBA Commissioner David Stern said Wednesday he would convene the league's finance/advisory committee "in quick order" to review the deal.
NBA spokesmen couldn't be reached for comment today.
Hansen had already purchased 7 percent of the Kings in a bankruptcy auction, but that deal is expected to fizzle, said bankruptcy trustee David Flemmer.
Hansen's purchase of the 7 percent stake owned by developer Bob Cook has a May 31 expiration date, and the trustee will hold a new auction to sell the stake.
"We start from scratch," Flemmer said. Hansen's $1.5 million down payment will be refunded, he said.