The former owners of the Houston Rockets have purchased 25% of the Sacramento Kings for $37.5 million and may consider buying a larger share of the team in the future.
Members of the Maloof family of New Mexico also said they considered buying into the San Antonio Spurs, but those negotiations did not produce a deal.
Kings managing general partner Jim Thomas said the partial sale of the team and Arco Arena to Maloof Sports and Entertainment was made to generate cash to build a sports and entertainment center on arena property. The deal was approved by the NBA.
"We wanted to get back into basketball for some time now, and this is the first opportunity that really attracted us," Philip Maloof said.
Thomas and his partners owned about 53% of the team and building before the sale. The rest is owned by private investors.
Thomas said the family has the option in two years of also buying the interest owned by partners Ned Fox, Eli Broad and Rick Gilchrist. He said the new group also will have the option of purchasing his interest in the team and arena in about five years.
The Maloof family, led by four brothers now based in New Mexico and Las Vegas, owns the Fiesta Casino Hotel in North Las Vegas, and holdings including a beer distributorship in Albuquerque and several banks.
George Maloof Sr. owned the Houston Rockets during the late 1970s and early '80s before his death. His son, Gavin, sold the franchise to a Houston car dealer.
Rocket forward Charles Barkley pleaded not guilty to charges in Orlando, Fla., that he threw bar patron Jorge Lugo, 20, through a window on Oct. 26 and asked for a jury trial.
Barkley, charged with battery, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief and resisting an officer without violence, was not present at the arraignment hearing. No trial date was set, but a pre-trial hearing was scheduled for Feb. 2.
Charlotte Hornet guard Bobby Phills will go on the injured list today because of a pulled left groin muscle, the team said.
Phills, who will be out at least five games, was injured in Tuesday's loss to the New Jersey Jets.
Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone moved up to a starting position in the latest voting for the Western Conference all-star team.
Malone, third last week, received 178,264 votes, passing Kevin Garnett (168,319) of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Tim Duncan of the Spurs (160,496).
David Robinson of San Antonio (208,985) continued to lead Western Conference centers. The Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal was second with 168,345 votes.
Starting teams will be announced by the NBA on Jan. 25.