Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson returns home, says sale of Kings is close

rlillis@sacbee.comMay 16, 2013 

Mayor Kevin Johnson arrived home today and said the group led by Silicon Valley executive Vivek Ranadive was close to finalizing a deal to buy the Sacramento Kings.

"It's going to be close to being signed in the next day or two," the mayor said at Sacramento International Airport. "I'll be surprised if we get past the weekend. I feel very confident about that."

Ranadive is in talks to buy the Kings from the Maloof family after the NBA on Wednesday rejected the franchise's proposed move to Seattle. NBA Commissioner David Stern said the league was working to close the deal by the end of the week.

Speaking by phone, Kings co-owner George Maloof said negotiations with Ranadive are "going on fine."

"These guys are good guys, I have a lot of respect for the people who are trying to buy the team in Sacramento," Maloof said.

Ranadive's group is seeking to buy the 65 percent share of the Kings controlled by the Maloofs. After absorbing debt associated with the franchise - including the repayment of a $64 million loan the team owes the city of Sacramento - Ranadive would pay roughly $200 million for the Maloof stake.

Call The Bee's Ryan Lillis, (916) 321-1085. Read his City Beat blog at sacbee.com/citybeat. Follow him on Twitter @ryan_lillis.

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