Officially a collector's item
Officially a collector's item

Anaheim Royally Screwed as Sacramento Kings Announce Deal to Sell Team to Seattle Group

Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli can officially scratch the Sacramento Kings off his list.

The billionaire Broadcom co-founder has long sought an NBA team to join the Ducks as a tenant of the Honda Center his company manages, but after years of trying to woo the Kings south (or was it the Maloofs trying to woo Anaheim?), an agreement was reached over the weekend to relocate the franchise in Seattle.

Yahoo! Sports on Jan. 9 reported a $500 million sales price and that the plan is to have the Kings (probably renamed the Sonics) play two years in the old Key Arena starting in 2013-14 before moving to a new Seattle arena.

The would-be buyer and seller announced over the weekend the group led by investor Chris Hansen is the purchaser, noting the agreement still requires the approval of the NBA Board of Governors, which given the opposition of Commissioner David Stern, the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers likely would have denied a Kings move to Anaheim anyway. When those talks were hot and heavy, the idea was to rename the Kings the Anaheim Royals to avoid Southern California market confusion with the LA Kings hockey franchise.

The NBA has confirmed it has received sales documents for the Seattle deal, and Stern announced he expects to present the matter to his board in April. But Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson warns that does not necessarily mean the NBA is on board with the move to Seattle. Stern, who has vowed to have Sacramento remain an NBA city, reacted angrily when the Maloofs earlier rejected a plan that would have the team move out of the old Arco Arena and into a new venue downtown.

Not that any of that has bothered Hansen or the Maloofs, who at this moment are all lovey-dovey.

"[W]e look forward to working with the league in the coming months to consummate the transaction," Hansen said in a statement. "While we are not at liberty to discuss the terms of the transaction or our plans for the franchise given the confidential nature of the agreement and NBA regulations regarding public comments during a pending transaction, we would just like to extend our sincerest compliments and gratitude toward the Maloof family. Our negotiations with the family were handled with the utmost honor and professionalism and we hope to continue their legacy and be great stewards of this NBA franchise in the coming years and decades."

In a statement of his own, Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof said, "We have always appreciated and treasured our ownership of the Kings and have had a great admiration for the fans and our team members. We would also like to thank Chris Hansen for his professionalism during our negotiation. Chris will be a great steward for the franchise."

No word out of Anaheim, which must revert back to shopping mode.

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