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List of suitors for Sacramento Kings gets longer

NBA Coast to Coast

Hedge-fund billionaire Chris Hansen and Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer emerged as candidates to buy the franchise and move it to Seattle. They could have competition from several other pursuers.

January 12, 2013|By Ben Bolch
  • Sacramento Kings fan Darren Fitch calls on the Maloof family to sell the team to local buyers.
Sacramento Kings fan Darren Fitch calls on the Maloof family to sell the… (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated )

A fluid franchise

They were going. Then they were staying.

Now the Sacramento Kings really might be going … unless they end up staying.

The plight of a franchise seemingly on the road to nowhere gained some traction this week when hedge-fund billionaire Chris Hansen and Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer emerged as candidates to buy the Kings and move them to Seattle.

Standing in their way could be Bay Area investor Mark Mastrov, the founder of the 24 Hour Fitness chain who reportedly wants the Kings to walk in place until they can get a new stadium in Sacramento.

Mastrov could also face some competition from supermarket baron Ron Burkle as well as mattress magnate Dale Carlsen, whose Sleep Train Mattress Centers Inc. has a naming-rights deal with the Kings' arena. Carlsen told the Sacramento Bee he was trying to assemble an investment group to buy the team.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson told USA Today that he was trying to elicit a local bid of at least $425 million to purchase the team from Joe and Gavin Maloof. A local buyer could conceivably purchase the Kings for about $112 million less than an outside investor because the buyer would not have to pay the NBA's $35-million relocation fee plus the immediate repayment of the team's debt to the city, a reported $77 million.

Any agreement to sell the team and relocate it would have to be approved by the league's team owners, who will ultimately decide whether the Kings stay or go.

Fight night

When New York's Carmelo Anthony approached Boston's team bus outside Madison Square Garden on Monday, he wasn't there to wish the Celtics a safe trip home.

Anthony wanted to tell Kevin Garnett he could head for a considerably warmer destination after the Boston center got a little too personal with his remarks during the Celtics' 102-96 victory.

Anthony was so enraged that he shouted and cursed at Garnett both outside Boston's locker room and then near the team bus before being restrained by security guards, police officers, New York Coach Mike Woodson and Knicks guard J.R. Smith.

The NBA suspended Anthony for one game but did not penalize Garnett, who allegedly made a comment about Anthony's wife, actress La La Vasquez.

"It's certain things that you just don't say to men," said Anthony, who would not specifically address what remarks Garnett had made. The players later talked, though presumably not to set up a double date.

Career, interrupted

Knowing the Portland Trail Blazers' luck, Greg Oden will become an All-Star next season and go on to a productive career with another team after reportedly deciding to resume his career.

Miami is among the teams purportedly interested in signing the 7-foot center, who played in only 82 games with Portland amid a series of knee injuries after the Blazers made him the first overall pick in the 2007 draft.

Oden is not expected to return until next season.

— Ben Bolch

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