With the fate of the Sacramento Kings seemingly changing by the hour, the organization had no comment on a report this morning that the team has been sold to a Seattle group.
A tweet from a Comcast Sports Bay Area NBA analyst this morning said the team had been sold for $525 million to a group led by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen. A representative for Hansen in Seattle could not immediately be reached for comment.
Eric Rose, a Kings spokesman, said, "Nothing has changed with our position that we will not comment on rumors or speculation about the Sacramento Kings franchise."
Sources have told The Bee as recently as Thursday that the owners of the franchise - the Maloof family - still had not received a formal offer for the team, but was expecting an offer very soon.
Richard Benvenuti, a limited partner in the franchise, said this morning he had not been told of a sale.
"We haven't heard anything about it," Benvenuti said. His family owns 15 percent of the team.
If the team is sold and the deal is approved by NBA owners, the Kings would move to Seattle next season. The team would play at old KeyArena for two years and then move into a new arena.
Hansen's group, which includes Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer and members of the Nordstrom family, has a tentative deal with the city and King County to build a $490 million arena south of downtown.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson this week pledged to find a competing offer from a buyer who would keep the Kings in town. He said he has stayed in touch with billionaire Ron Burkle, whose effort to buy the Kings two years ago was angrily rejected by the Maloofs.
City Hall officials had no comment on the latest report of a done deal.
Thursday evening, NBA Commissioner David Stern said it would be reasonable to give Burkle a chance to match Hansen's offer. Officials with the league couldn't be reached for comment today.
Until this week, the Maloofs have insisted the team isn't for sale. But sources say they've warmed up to the idea of selling the financially troubled franchise. The Kings are more than $200 million in debt and are on track to lose $6 million to $7 million this year, according to sources.
The team's status in Sacramento became uncertain after the Maloofs abandoned a tentative plan to build a new downtown arena last spring.