Report: Potential Kings buyers emerge, would keep team in Sacramento

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports that Mark Mastrov, the founder of 24-Hour Fitness, is interested in buying the Sacramento Kings and more importantly, keeping them in Sacramento. League sources say he has made a formal offer.

Yesterday when Mayor Kevin Johnson gave his press conference, he announced that he was in conversation with several parties to try to buy the Kings and keep them in Sacramento, but was unable to name any names. Ron Burkle is the only name that has come up, from his involvement with Kevin Johnson back in 2011.

But now a new report from Ken Berger of CBS Sports says that 24-Hour Fitness Founder Mark Mastrov wants to buy the Kings and keep them here and that he has already approached the Maloofs with a formal offer. Mastrov finished second to Joe Lacob and Peter Guber in bidding for the Golden State Warriors, who sold for $450 million.

"Definitely, there've been conversations," Mastrov said from his northern California office. "Definitely there's interest in acquiring the team and keeping it in Sacramento."

Mastrov met with the Maloofs recently, and two league sources speaking on condition of anonymity said he has made a formal offer.

Supermarket magnate Ron Burkle has long been interested in buying the Kings and keeping them in Sacramento, and is well known to NBA owners who would approve any sale. But having made it to the final round of the process with the Warriors sale, Mastrov is familiar with the NBA process and league executives are familiar with him.

Berger goes on to note that Mastrov (or any buyer who wants to keep the team in Sacramento) would likely not have to match Seattle's offer dollar-for-dollar because of the city loan and arena lease. A new local owner would simply have to assume the loan rather than pay it immediately like Hansen/Balmer would.

Berger also says that it is widely known that Commissioner David Stern's strong preference is that the Kings remain in Sacramento. But as Stern himself said yesterday, he is only there to advise the owners and is not running the ship any more.

It is currently unknown if Mastrov is one of the potential buyers that Mayor Kevin Johnson has been in contact with. I'm sure we'll hear more on this soon. (Update: He has been in contact with Mayor Johnson).

UPDATE 2:52 PM:

Dale Kasler tweets that Sleep Train CEO Dale Carlsen is also out there as a potential local buyer.

UPDATE 3:03 PM:

Rob McAllister tweets that former Kings Exec. Greg Van Dusen and his group are interested in buying the team and will submit an offer.

UPDATE 3:25 PM:

Ryan Lillis has more on Mastrov and other buyers. Mastrov HAS been in contact with Mayor Kevin Johnson. His bid for the Warriors in 2010 was about $350 million. He sold 24 Hour Fitness in 2005 for $1.7 billion.

Mastrov said that Mayor Kevin Johnson is aware of his interest in buying the team and that he's been focused on purchasing the Kings "for a long time."

"(Owning and NBA franchise) is a passion of mine," he said. "I love basketball and I love the NBA."

Sleep Train CEO Dale Carlsen also chimed in on his interest:

"My hope is we're given an opportunity as a community to put our offer in," Carlsen said today. "There's several groups that are trying to put that together."

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