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Sacramento Lines Up Investors to Buy Kings

Sacramento investors plan to make a counter-offer to buy the Sacramento Kings from the Maloof brothers.

More than two "major equity partners" have shown interest in funding the large majority of a bid to purchase the Sacramento Kings and keep them in California, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said Wednesday.

A day earlier, he announced 19 local developers and business-people who had each pledged at least $1 million toward a bid to buy the team from the Maloof brothers–he said since then, he has added two more people to that list.

"We're empathetic to what's happening in Seattle," Johnson told reporters at a press conference. "We just want them to know we're going to fight like crazy to keep our team here."

Over the weekend, a pending deal was announced to sell the team to a Seattle-based group for a rumored $340 million, but it must still be approved by NBA officials. Johnson hopes to present a counter-offer to keep the team in California, and will make his case before league officials in April.

Citing the 2010 sale of the Golden State Warriors where a higher bid by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison was unsuccessful in buying the team, Johnson said Sacramento has a chance against the wealthy likes of Seattle's Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer.

"The deepest pockets don't always end up the winning bidder," he said. "When has a team ever been bought and relocated when a city has done everything that has been asked of it?"

Johnson said he plans to talk with NBA Commissioner David Stern Thursday and will likely announce the so-called "whale" who will fund the majority of the city's bid to buy the team next week. 

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