Kings reportedly sold to Sacremento group

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SEATTLE — The last unresolved question over the fate of the Sacramento Kings was answered Thursday night when it was reported that the Maloof family had reached a deal to sell the team to a Sacramento group led by Vivek Ranadive.

The NBA’s Board of Governors voted on Wednesday to not allow the team to relocate to Seattle, which effectively killed a deal the Maloof family had struck with a group led by Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

The Seattle group reached an agreement in January to buy 65 percent of the team from the Maloof family.

The Sacramento Bee initially reported the deal Thursday night and that it will be for a total valuation of $535 million — $10 million more than the initial Seattle deal and an NBA record (the most ever paid was $450 million for the Golden State Warriors in 2010).

The Bee reported that the Kings deal is expected to be announced sometime today. The Associated Press confirmed the deal and said there are about 30 investors in the Ranadive group.

After the NBA vote on Wednesday, one of the Maloof brothers, George, said he would talk with Hansen to see if he were interested in other options — including, apparently, a backup plan to buy 20 percent of the team that was revealed over the weekend. That option would have required NBA approval.

Selling the team to the Ranadive group, however, ends that plan.

The Bee’s source said the Maloof family was eager to “turn the page.”

NBA commissioner David Stern said Wednesday he hoped the deal would be completed in 24 to 48 hours. Stern said Sacramento kept the Kings in part because the advantage went to “the incumbent.” Stern had maintained throughout the process that his desire was to not see another team relocate.

One NBA writer Thursday tweeted that Stern might have played a particularly heavy hand in Wednesday’s 22-8 vote by the Board of Governors, denying the relocation.

Steve Kyler, who covers the NBA for USA Today Sports, tweeted: “Sources close to the process in Dallas yesterday said that David Stern was an active participant in Seattle/Sac vote.”

A spokesman for Hansen said he would have no more comment for now. It was not reported if Hansen would get back his $30 million deposit on the original sale agreement.

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