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Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer-led group finalizes agreement to purchase Sacramento Kings NBA franchise

According to Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer's sports team investment group, they have announced that they have entered into an agreement to purchase the Sacramento Kings NBA team from the Maloof family. This would pave the way for a relocation of the team to Seattle for the 2013-2014 NBA season.

I can't judge fanbases, but I certainly can say that Sacramento Kings fans were maloofed today.
I can't judge fanbases, but I certainly can say that Sacramento Kings fans were maloofed today.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Like we have noted earlier, the Kings would in all likelihood rename the team as the Seattle SuperSonics and play at KeyArena in 2013-2014, alongside the WNBA's Seattle Storm team.

If you are wondering what the Storm franchise thinks about it, look at this tweet:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet tw-align-center"><p>Welcome home, Sonics! RT @<a href="">sonicsarena</a>: <a href="">#SonicsArena</a> group has finalized agreement to purchase Sacramento Kings <a href="" title="">…</a></p>&mdash; Seattle Storm (@seattlestorm) <a href="" data-datetime="2013-01-21T16:26:11+00:00">January 21, 2013</a></blockquote>

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From Sacramento's point of view, today must be a very dark day, not unlike what Sonics fans experienced five years ago when Clay Bennett was in the process of moving the team to Oklahoma City, where the franchise is now known as the Thunder. The Maloof family has had financial problems over the last several years and last year, they backed out of a tentative deal to build a new arena in Sacramento. This was just less than a year after the franchise almost moved to Anaheim, which is in the same media market as Los Angeles, where there are already two NBA teams.

It should be noted that the Maloofs also owned a WNBA team, the Sacramento Monarchs, one of the eight founding franchises of the league, which won the 2005 Finals. However, the franchise folded in 2009 in part due to the Maloofs' financial problems with their businesses. Many WNBA fans, in particular those who were fans of the Monarchs also share bitterness toward the Maloofs, not unlike the bitterness Kings fans have right now at the same ownership. And of course, I would imagine that some Kings fans are also Monarchs fans which can only add to even more anguish.

Though Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson still will have an opportunity to try to convince the NBA Board of Governors that the Kings should still have an opportunity for Sacramento-based ownership to match Hansen's offer, the agreement between the Maloofs and Hansen/Ballmer's group is binding, so it would probably be hard to change course at this point.

Our Sacramento Kings SB Nation blog, Sactown Royalty has more on this from their point of view, and a StoryStream for this event is here. Tom Ziller, who is that blog's editor, wrote an open letter to the Maloof family which can be read here.