Johnson: Kings sale signed

2:55 PM, May 17, 2013   |    comments
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Sacramento, CA (Sports Network) - Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson held a press conference Friday to announce the deal to keep the Kings in the city has been completed.

The Maloof family has sold the franchise to an investment group headed by Vivek Ranadive for a reported $347 million. There was a competing bid from a group that would have moved the club to Seattle, but NBA owners earlier this week voted to keep the team in Sacramento.

A new stadium deal, something the Maloof family worked unsuccessfully to complete, is part of the overall package.

"It's about jobs and it's about revitalizing downtown," said Johnson in front of a large group of fans that packed at City Hall on Friday. "It's about civic pride. It's about not letting somebody take something that isn't theirs."

Johnson, a former NBA player, worked tirelessly to keep the Kings in Sacramento after repeated efforts for a new stadium plan with the Maloof family continually fell apart.

The Maloof family had agreed in January to sell a 65 percent share of the team to a group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who would have moved the Kings to Seattle.

On March 27, the Sacramento City Council approved a public-private deal to build a new 18,500-seat arena and retail center downtown, leading to the purchase bid from Ranadive's group.

The league heard proposals from both groups in April and decided Wednesday, by a 22-8 vote, to keep the team in Sacramento. The actual sale agreement must still be approved by the NBA's Board of Governors.

Ranadive, a partial owner of the Golden State Warriors, will have to divest his interest in the franchise.

The Maloof family had controlling ownership of the Kings since 1999.

Seattle has been without an NBA team since the SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City following the 2007-08 campaign. The Sonics were an expansion franchise in 1967-68.

The Kings, meanwhile, have been in numerous cities since their inception in 1948-49. They began as the Rochester Royals until 1956-57, then stopped in Cincinnati through 1971-72 before moving to the Midwest. They changed their name to the KC-Omaha Kings before becoming the Kansas City Kings in 1975-76, then moved to Sacramento for the start of the 1985-86 season.

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