The bid submitted by a Sacramento group seeking to buy the Kings does not measure up, in dollar terms, to the deal the Kings owners have with Seattle, NBA Commissioner David Stern disclosed Friday night during a press conference at Oracle Arena in Oakland, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Stern wasn’t specific about the shortfall. Developer Chris Hansen has offered a reported $341 million to the Maloof family for a 65 percent share of the team valued at $525 million. Stern has been in contact with the Sacramento group, led by 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov and Southern California billionaire Ron Burkle, and said he believes the Sacramento group will increase its bid in the coming weeks.
“The counter bid has got very strong financial people behind it, but it is not quite there in comparison to the Seattle bid,” Stern said. “There is a substantial variance.”
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson issued a statement immediately after the commissioner’s press conference, saying he remains confident the local group will prevail. He characterized the moment as the fourth quarter.
“We appreciate the commissioner’s observation that Sacramento has made a ‘Herculean effort’ and his expression of confidence in Sacramento’s bid,” Johnson said. “We are confident that the we are well positioned given the quality of the ownership group bidding, the clear path forward we identified to build an arena and the fact that our market is one of the best performing markets in the league.”
Stern said he has set up an April 3 meeting in New York to bring some league owners in to review where the bids stand.
He said he wanted to use that meeting to avoid the sort of “chaos” that has accompanied the Kings situation in each of the last two years at the annual postseason board meetings.
The board of governors is scheduled to vote April 18 on whether to accept the Seattle purchase and permit the relocation.
Stern hinted there may be more than one bid from Sacramento investors but he did not mention names. He said he did tell current Kings minority owner John Kehriotis to “go for it,” if Kehriotis feels he can mount a competitive bid.
The commissioner was in town to visit with Warriors officials and said Mastrov was at the tgame and he would talk with him. Stern said the Mastrov bid will have to increase “by dollar amounts” for the NBA to consider it seriously as an alternative to the Seattle deal.
Stern’s decision to publicly poke the Sacramento bid now could be seen as a way to assure that the bids will be benchmarks not only for this sale but future franchise sales.