Marc Stein and others are reporting that the Maloofs have agreed to sell a majority stake of the Sacramento Kings to a group that would relocate the team to Seattle by the start of next season. Though something like this has happened before, this time the two parties made it official with more than a handshake:
The Maloof family that owns the Sacramento Kings has reached a purchase agreement to sell a 65 percent controlling interest in the franchise to a Seattle group led by Chris Hansen for $525 million, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN.com that NBA teams were formally notified Sunday night of the deal, which still requires league approval.
The executed purchase agreement to transfer the 65 percent majority stake in the Kings to Hansen's group represents the shares owned by the Maloofs and one minority owner. Sources said that there has not yet been an agreement submitted on the remaining 35 percent of the franchise, which is held by minority shareholders, not the Maloofs.
The deal, according to sources familiar with the specifics, calls for the Maloofs to receive a non-refundable $30 million deposit from the Seattle group by Feb. 1. The NBA, furthermore, is expecting Hansen to apply for relocation to Seattle in time for the 2013-14 season by the league's March 1 deadline.
Last week, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson said he had received approval from NBA commissioner David Stern to present a counteroffer to the league from buyers who would keep the team in Sacramento.
So the Kings aren't quite packing their bags yet—the deal still requires league approval, and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has time to produce a counteroffer. Adrian Wojnarowski is saying that, if the sale is eventually finalized, acquiring league approval to move the team to Seattle will be a "formality."