"It's a difficult day for us, but it's time for a new chapter."
George Maloof, co-owner of the Sacramento Kings, told the Bee early Friday he feels the family has taken the right step by selling the team to a group that intends to keep it in Sacramento.
Speaking for his brothers, Joe and Gavin, George Maloof said it wasn't easy, but said the family had concluded, "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."
Until Wednesday of this week, it appeared that next step for the 14-year team owners was going to be to Seattle. The Maloofs had signed a deal in January to sell the team to a group that would move it to the Pacific Northwest. The NBA said no on Wednesday, and in lightning fashion, the Maloofs signed a deal with a group led by Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur Vivek Ranadive who vows to build a downtown arena in Sacramento. The deal values the team at $535 million, a record NBA team sales price. The 65 percent share the Maloofs own, along with partner Robert Hernreich, is worth $347 million. The sale is expected to be formally announced today. If approved by the NBA, the team will change hands in two weeks.
Maloof applauded Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson for pulling strings that kept the team in town.
"We have to hand it to the mayor, man," he said. "He did a great job."
Call The Bee's Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059. Follow him on Twitter @tonybizjak.