SEATTLE - The NBA confirmed Monday morning that it had received an executive purchase and sale agreement for the Sacramento Kings.
The agreement would transfer the controlling ownership from the Maloof family to a Seattle investor group led by Chris Hansen.
The NBA said in a statement that the proposed transaction is subject to approval of the NBA Board of Governors.
“We have always appreciated and treasured our ownership of the Kings and have had a great admiration for the fans and our team members. We would also like to thank Chris Hansen for his professionalism during our negotiation. Chris will be a great steward for the franchise,” said Gavin Maloof, Kings co-owner, in a statement made on behalf of the Maloof family.
Hansen issued the following statement on Monday morning:
"We are happy to announce that we have entered into a binding agreement with the Maloofs to purchase a controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise. The sale is obviously subject to approval by the NBA Board of Governors, and we look forward to working with the League in the coming months to consummate the transaction.While we are not at liberty to discuss the terms of the transaction or our plans for the franchise given the confidential nature of the agreement and NBA regulations regarding public comments during a pending transaction, we would just like to extend our sincerest compliments and gratitude toward the Maloof family. Our negotiations with the family were handled with the utmost honor and professionalism and we hope to continue their legacy and be great stewards of this NBA franchise in the coming years and decades."
"This is an exciting day for our city and for Sonics fans everywhere," said Mayor Mike McGinn in a statement. "I congratulate Chris Hansen and his investment team. While there is more work ahead, this is a major step toward bringing the Sonics home."
“Thanks to Chris Hansen and his investment partners Steve Ballmer, Peter and Erik Nordstrom, and the strength of regional partnerships and our collective can-do spirit, we can now look forward to celebrating the day we can say, 'Welcome home, Sonics!,'" King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement.
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Essex Porter spoke with fans that have waited years for the great news.
“I’m ecstatic,” said fan Donald Thorpe. “To see them, to have the Sonics here again would mean so much to me.”
“I’m pretty excited, like I said, mostly because my kids get to experience what I did when I was a little boy. Getting to go to games with my dad,” said another Sonics fan, Ron Stuart.
A source told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News Sunday night that majority owners of the Sacramento Kings sold the team to the Hansen's group.
ESPN.com reported that the agreement has been reached by the Maloof family to sell 65 percent of the franchise to Hansen's group for $525 million.
NBA teams were formally notified Sunday night of the deal, which still requires league approval, according to ESPN.com.
During a Jan. 9 news conference, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said he received approval from NBA commissioner David Stern to present a counteroffer to the league from buyers who would keep the team in Sacramento.
Johnson said the city is in a "six-week sprint" to put together a proposal for the NBA's Board of Governors to consider a potential sale and relocation to Seattle, reported ESPN.com.
An approval by the NBA Board of Governors and the city of Sacramento has been granted the right to make a counter offer. The new owners plan to file for permission to bring the team to Seattle by the NBA’s March 1 deadline.