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Billionaire meets with Stern about Kings
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On January 25, 2013 @ 6:00 pm In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles-based billionaire and prospective owner of the Sacramento Kings, Ron Burkle, met with NBA Commissioner David Stern on Thursday in New York City, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.
The people spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because it was a private meeting. While the Maloof family that currently owns the team has an agreement with the Seattle-based group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to sell 65% of the team for approximately $341 million, the deal must still be approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors.
Burkle — the supermarket mogul who is part owner of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins — has been planning to make a competing bid with fellow money man Mark Mastrov, the Northern California-based founder of 24-Hour Fitness, in an attempt to convince the NBA to keep the team in Sacramento. The goal all along from the Sacramento side has been to force the NBA into a tough decision by putting together an arena plan and a bid that’s competitive with the Hansen-Ballmer group.
Stern has had consistent communication with Sacramento mayor and former NBA point guard Kevin Johnson during this situation, but his decision to grant Burkle a meeting is seen by Johnson’s camp as the latest sign that — despite the widely held belief the team will wind up in Seattle — their effort is being legitimized by the league. Stern has already indicated publicly that he will allow Johnson to make his case to the Board of Governors before they decide on the Seattle bid.
In that regard, it’s a similar situation to two years ago, when Johnson made his case at an April Board of Governors meeting to keep the team in Sacramento and the Maloofs’ attempts to move the team to Anaheim were thwarted. Burkle first entered this scene at that time, as Johnson spoke publicly about his interest in buying the team, and he was seen as a possible savior of sorts for Kings fans who wanted to keep their franchise.
The timing of Johnson’s eventual … [For more on Billionaire meets with David Stern about Kings, click here.]
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