The Sacramento Kings have had their share of relocation drama since Feb. 2011 when the team was looking to move to Anaheim.
With the Maloofs selling the team to a Chris Hansen's group, who will move the team to Seattle, Sacramento received the good news that may keep their team from moving.
R.E. Graswich, Think Big Sacramento's Director of Public Affairs and former aide to Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, was the first to point out that the Kings' minority owners have the first right of refusal to buy the Maloofs' 65 percent share of the team, valued at $340 million.
The Sacramento Bee's Dale Kasler talked to David Flemmer, the bankruptcy trustee of minority owner Bob Cook. Flemmer said in yesterday's article that minority owners were being denied their first right of refusal and will take action:
Flemmer wouldn't go into details on legal strategy but said he plans to assert the limited partners' rights at a hearing next Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento.
"Bankruptcy is a tool; this tool can be effective," Flemmer said. "We are very, very, very concerned that there's a deal being cut that's going to (ignore) that right."
The first right of refusal has been used before. Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan exercised his right to become the majority owner of the team in 2010.
Mayor Johnson mentioned that there were more than two "whales" who were interested in becoming major equity partners and buying the Kings and committed to help build a downtown arena.
While billionaire Ron Burkle and Bay Area investor Mark Mastrov are rumored to be teaming up, Larry Ellison, America's third-richest man and co-founder and CEO of Oracle, is set to meet with Johnson today, Cook said in The Bee.
How rich is Ellison? He bought the Hawaiian island of Lanai for a price between $500-600 million and has a net worth of $41 billion according to The Bee. This wouldn't be his first pursuit of an NBA team and he has local ties:
Ellison was in the running to buy the Golden State Warriors two years ago and actually outbid the eventual winners, Joseph Lacob and Peter Guber, according to various media reports. Ellison lost out on the team because his final offer was said to have come in too late.
Ellison has connections in the Sacramento area. He underwent surgery at UC Davis Medical Center in 1992 after being badly injured in a bicycle accident, and wound up donating $6 million to the school. The school's ambulatory care center is named after him.
With the minority owners having the chance to buy the Maloofs' share in the team and Ellison thrown into the mix of keeping the team in town, the chance of a Sacramento Kings team, not a reborn Seattle SuperSonics team, showing up next season are starting to look up.