SEATTLE - Just when the path seemed to be clearing to bring the Sonics back to Seattle, a new counteroffer has come in to keep the Sacramento Kings where they are.
Monday night, a minority owner of the Sacramento Kings told a local TV station he and other investors are willing to invest three quarters of a billion dollars to buy the team and build a new arena without using taxpayer money.
Sacramento real estate developer John Kehriotis is the investor.
Kehriotis, who is putting up $350 million, said he has verbal commitments for $400 million more.
The deal is believed to be separate from the deal Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has been working on with other wealthy investors.
The latest development sets up a showdown at the NBA Board of Governors meeting in April in which the owners will hear presentations from one or more Sacramento groups as well as the Chris Hansen-Steve Ballmer group, which is rolling ahead with plans to bring the team to Seattle.
Some insiders said the Seattle group still may have the edge, since they're further along with their plan.
But others think if everything is equal, the owners would prefer to keep the team in Sacramento.
In addition, the Sacramento City Council is voting Tuesday on whether to start negotiating with investors to build a new arena.