Reporting Steve Large
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – In the latest twist to the future of the Kings, CBS13 on Saturday confirmed a new player in a bid to keep the team in Sacramento.
The Bay Area investors who bought the Downtown Plaza shopping center this year also could be part of a group who want to bid for the Maloof’s stake in the Kings to keep the team in the Capitol City.
JMA Ventures’ plan includes building a new entertainment and sports complex at the Downtown Plaza rather than the downtown railyards site that the city has proposed as the future home of a new $400 million arena.
CBS13 has also learned that Darius Anderson is among the investors in this group. Anderson is the same man who connected billionaire Ron Burkle to Mayor Kevin Johnson two years ago in an attempt to prevent the Maloofs from moving the team to Anaheim.
The Maloofs rebuffed attempts by Burkle to buy the team but ended up keeping the Kings in Sacramento.
Now they’ve reportedly agreed to a handshake deal with a Seattle group led by billionaire investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer to sell the Kings for $525 million.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has vowed to bring local group together to present a pitch to NBA Commissioner David Stern and the rest of the league’s owners.
Johnson believes Sacramento can make a viable bid to the Maloofs by avoiding the relocation fees required to move the franchise to Seattle, which could be as high as $100 million, and an immediate payoff on the loan the Maloofs owe the city of about $77 million.
JMA Ventures is the latest group to express an interest in keeping the Kings in Sacramento. On Friday, Mark Mastrov, who founded 24 Hour Fitness and sold the gym franchise for more than a billion dollars, said he’d be interested in buying the team.
Mastrov was part of a group that unsuccessfully bid for the Golden State Warriors two years ago. That franchise sold for a record $450 million.
Meanwhile, the group trying to bring NBA basketball back to Seattle, which lost the Sonics in 2008, has released sketches of a proposed $490 million arena in the SoDo district of downtown. Hansen has approval to build on the manufacturing site, provided he can secure an NBA franchise.