The majority owners of the Sacramento Kings - the Maloof family - came to an agreement Monday with a Seattle investment group, selling 65 percent of the team for $525 million.
The sale is expected to be precursor to a move of the Sacramento franchise to Seattle. The deal, though, still awaits approval from the National Basketball Association’s board of governors. A relocation proposal must be submitted by March 1.
For minority owner John Kehriotis, who also owns Ridgemark Golf and Country Club, the sale was a surprise. He didn’t hear of a deal until 9 a.m. Monday morning, after the sale was already public through the national media.
“It came out of left field,” Kehriotis said.
The deal is only in place for the Maloofs stock in the team, and does not include Kehriotis’ 12 percent ownership, he said. But it’s unclear to what effect the sale will have on the team and the city of Sacramento.
“I can’t talk about this at this point,” Kehriotis said. “Unfortunately, I can’t talk about that stuff right now. I just received a call about the sale earlier today.”
Regardless of the impacts on the team and recent possible moves to Anaheim and Virginia Beach, the sale was unexpected, Kehriotis said.
“I’m very surprised,” he said. “They always said they had no interest in selling the team. I guess there is a price for everything.”
That price was $525 million.
In a statement from the Maloof family, the Kings announced the sale agreement with investor Chris Hansen.
"We have always appreciated and treasured our ownership of the Kings and have had a great admiration for the fans and our team members,” said Gavin Maloof on behalf of the Maloof family. “We would also like thank Chris Hansen for his professionalism during our negotiation. Chris will be a great steward for the franchise.”
The Kings have called Sacramento home since 1985 and have never won a championship in the California capital. During that time, the Kings won two Pacific Division titles and reached the Western Conference Finals once but lost to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Kings, though, have struggled in recent years, failing to make the postseason since 2006. This year, they are 16-25.
The Kings are one of the NBA’s most well-traveled teams. They were founded in 1945 as the Rochester Royals before moving to Cincinnati in 1957. They stayed there until 1972 when they became the Kansas-City-Omaha Kings. They then moved to Sacramento in 1985.
Kehriotis and his Santa Clara-based JMK Investments purchased the Ridgemark property in 2009.