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Sacramento mayor says billionaire Ron Burkle is interested in keeping Kings in Sacramento

L7za7knc Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson informed the NBA Board of Governors on Thursday that Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle is interested in purchasing the Sacramento Kings from owners Joe and Gavin Maloof to keep the NBA team from moving to Anaheim.

"In putting together an alternative ownership group, we're here if anything changes with the Maloofs or the NBA," said Darius Anderson, a Sacramento businessman closely connected to Burkle who joined Johnson at the heating in New York.

The major problem for the Sacramento group is that the Maloofs "will not sell the team," according to team spokesman Troy Hanson, and the brothers spent Thursday proposing the relocation of the franchise to Anaheim’s Honda Center, which has solicited $75 million in bonds to help with the team's move and upgrades at the arena.

Four Maloof brothers met with the NBA's relocation committee for 90 minutes Thursday, laying out their plans. They have yet to officially apply to relocate the Kings but have until Monday to do so.

The Maloofs have known Burkle for several years and it is unclear if they would want him as a limited partner.

Burkle, a co-owner of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, is "ready to commit the resources and expertise necessary to keep the NBA team in Sacramento," according to a news release from his Burkle Group. "Sacramento ... can thrive with new ideas, new resources and an absolute commitment to delivering the best on- and off-court experiences for fans."

The Burkle involvement could also "deliver on a new facility," which the Maloofs have sought to replace  Power Balance Pavilion (formerly known as Arco Arena).

A sellout crowd of 17,000-plus attended what might have been the Kings' final game in Sacramento, an overtime loss to the Lakers on Wednesday night.

Johnson vowed at the game that he would present a significant plan to help keep the team in Sacramento or convince the NBA board that his city is a viable NBA market.

Anderson said he had "no clue" how to gauge the response of the board of governors, but he suggested they now are aware that the Maloofs could bring in a powerful investor should the team remain in Sacramento.

The Lakers and Clippers are opposed to the Kings' potential move because of the financial hits the Los Angeles teams expect to take in their television deals and ticket sales with a third NBA franchise in Southern California.

The Maloofs need to convince a majority of the NBA Board of Governors (15 of 29 teams) that a move to Anaheim is necessary to strengthen the Kings franchise.

ALSO:

What is the most likely upset in the first round of the NBA playoffs?

NBA Board of Governors to hear Sacramento-to-Anaheim pitch Thursday

-- Lance Pugmire

Photo: Ron Burkle. Credit: Keith Srakocic / AP

 
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