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NBA Blocks Burkle From Investing In Kings Or Arena; Cites Conflict Of Interest

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Billionaire Ron Burkle will no longer be part of Mayor Kevin Johnson’s whale investors’ effort to keep the Sacramento Kings from moving to Seattle.

The effort to keep the Kings will now be done mostly by Vivek Ranadive, Mark Mastrov and Jeff Jacobs as Burkle will no longer be able to play a financial role in the arena or purchasing of the team.

The NBA found that Burkle’s involvement with Relativity Sports is a conflict of interest since it represents professional basketball players and could have an unfair advantage if Burkle was a part owner of the team as well.

However, he will not be out of the picture completely.

“When we presented to the NBA a week ago, we explained this opportunity. We knew it would be a potential conflict. They were trying to work through it. It didn’t get resolved, but – again — Ron will still be involved in the economic development opportunities,” Mayor Kevin Johnson said.

Sacramento is still set to commit $255 million to the arena and the other investors will now pick up the small portion Burkle was set to cover.

“Everybody’s rolls are going to become very clear and crystallized in a way that I think is going to be very powerful,” Johnson added.

Ranadive said on CBS Sports 1140 two weeks ago that any of the investors could write a check for the arena portion or the team, but said each is interested in doing something greater in Sacramento. That includes redeveloping portions of downtown and the old arena site in Natomas.

The NBA owners are expected to vote on whether the team stays in Sacramento or moves to Seattle during the April 18 and 19 meetings in New York City.

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