By 710Sports.com staff
It appears the group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer attempting to buy and move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle are doing everything in their power to sway the NBA ahead of Wednesday’s vote to decide the Kings fate.
ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst reported Saturday that the Seattle group has cut a “backup” deal with the current Kings owners, the Maloof family, just a day after the group bumped up its offer to buy the franchise by $75 million.
Sources said the Maloofs told fellow NBA owners that they will not sell the Kings to a Sacramento-based group that will keep the Kings in Sacramento if the deal to sell to Hansen’s group, and subsequently move the team to Seattle, is not approved next week.
In the new agreement, Hansen would acquire 20 percent of the team for $125 million, and the Maloofs would continue to operate the franchise.
The deal also sweetens the pot for the NBA owners, with a $115 million relocation fee, which would equal about $4 million per team. When the Oklahoma City Thunder moved from Seattle in 2008, they paid a $30 million fee.
Sources say the NBA relocation committee, which voted unanimously to reject the relocation request to Seattle two weeks ago, is planning to re-evaluate the Seattle group’s new offer ahead of Tuesday’s full owners’ meeting in Dallas.