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Investor Chris Hansen has contacted the Maloof family about buying the Sacramento Kings, setting up the possibility of the NBA's return to Seattle.
Hansen's interest was confirmed on Wednesday by people with knowledge of the situation. They spoke on condition of anonymity because no deal has been reached.
One person said the Kings could sell for more than $500 million. The Kings' future in Sacramento has been uncertain because the Maloofs and the city haven't been able to come up with a long-term arena solution.
Yahoo! Sports first reported the discussions between the Kings and Hansen. Yahoo! reported a possible sale could land the Kings in Seattle for the 2013-14 season, where the team would play at KeyArena as a temporary home until a new arena is constructed.
"I know as much as you do," Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said when asked about the situation. "If it's true, ain't it cool?"
His counterpart in Sacramento thought the news anything but cool. At an afternoon news conference, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said Wednesday was significant because for the first time Kings fans know the team is for sale. Johnson said he would do all he could to try to find a buyer with a Sacramento connection to possibly purchase the team and keep it in California's capital city.
"We're going to fight, and we're used to being in this situation," he said.
Hansen, a Seattle native and San Francisco-based investor, reached agreement with local governments in Seattle last October on plans to build a $490 million arena near the city's other stadiums, Century-Link Field and Safeco Field. As part of the agreement, no construction will begin until all environmental reviews are completed and a team has been secured.
(China Daily 01/11/2013 page24)