by Antonio Gonzalez, AP Sports Writer
The Sacramento Kings’ unsteady future finally seems to be settled.
A person familiar with the deal says the Maloof family has reached an agreement with a Sacramento group headed by TIBCO software tycoon Vivek Ranadivé to sell a 65 percent controlling interest in the Kings at a total franchise valuation of $535 million.
The person, speaking on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press late Thursday night because they weren’t authorized to talk publicly, said there are about 30 investors in the group put together by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former All-Star guard.
An official announcement is expected Friday.
“It’s the start of a new era,” Ranadivé told reporters after the Golden State Warriors lost 94-82 to the San Antonio Spurs in Oakland late Thursday night.
Ranadivé, who will have to sell his minority stake in the Warriors, said there was still some paperwork to finalize. He declined to give the purchase price.
The NBA is expected to officially approve the agreement next week. The deal has to be closed by May 31, according to the agreement, the person said.
“I really wish him well. I think he’ll do great,” Warriors owner Joe Lacob said about Ranadivé. “He’s a very smart guy. He’ll do the most important thing, which is hire great people around him.”
On Wednesday, the NBA Board of Governors rejected a bid from a Seattle group that wanted to buy and move the franchise to the Pacific Northwest.
The 22-8 vote killed a deal that would have sold a 65 percent controlling interest at a total franchise valuation of $625 million to a Seattle group led by investor Chris Hansen, who boosted the offer twice after the NBA showed an unwillingness to relocate.
The vote ended an emotional saga that has dragged on for nearly three years. Hansen wanted to move the franchise and rename it the SuperSonics, for the team who left Seattle for Oklahoma City in 2008 and were renamed the Thunder. NBA Commissioner David Stern praised Hansen’s proposal and said the NBA might consider expansion once a new TV deal is in place.
The plan includes a new downtown arena after Johnson got the Sacramento City Council to approve a non-binding financing plan for a $447 million facility with a $258 million public subsidy.
The Sacramento ownership group also includes 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, former Facebook senior executive Chris Kelly and the Jacobs family that owns communications giant Qualcomm.