Ok, first off, everyone take a deep breath. Tonight seems like a bombshell, but we knew this was coming. We knew that the Kings would be sold. We knew it was likely that they would be sold to the Seattle-based Hansen-Ballmer group. We knew that the final battle would be fought with Mayor Kevin Johnson presenting to the NBA Board of Governors. None of that has changed. What happened tonight was the logical and inevitable next step. So while tonight's news is unnerving, take a deep breath.
Here's what we know.
Just going online now: Maloofs have struck deal to sell 65 percent of Kings to Chris Hansen group in Seattle for $525 million, sources say— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 21, 2013
Sources say deal calls for Maloofs to receive non-refundable $30 million from the Hansen group by Feb. 1 whether or not sale is approved— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 21, 2013
NBA source says Sacramento Kings sale to Seattle group is signed & sent to league.Maloofs will retain "small piece" of team.— J.A. Adande (@jadande) January 21, 2013
With sale finalized, NBA's Relocation Committee will approve Kings move to Seattle for next season, sources tell Y! "Formality," source says— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 21, 2013
The $525 million price is a "valuation" on the total franchise. For 65 percent, Seattle group would pay approximately $340 million.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 21, 2013
So, obviously some big information in there.
There was some initial confusion, but it is now clarified that the $525 million price is a valuation, not the actual amount being paid for 65%. This is just as was previously reported. That means the actual amount of the sale, the amount Sacramento would be looking at in any offer to match, is around $341 million.
As for Woj saying it's a formality? That may seem unnerving, but Woj hasn't exactly erred on the side of neutrality when reporting this story. You know what else was a "formality"? Approval of the move to Anaheim. This isn't over.
The $30 million the Maloofs are getting no matter what? That's hilarious to me. That tells me the Maloofs are worried that this deal won't be approved, and that they're locking in some extra cash. However, it also tells me the Seattle group is confident in this deal. We'll see.
The fact that the Maloofs could still retain a percentage? That just tells me that the Maloofs used Sacramento's efforts to leverage a better deal.
Again, none of this is fundamentally different from what we expected. We knew that this was going to happen. Now we take the fight to the Board of Governors. We will continue to keep you updated as more information becomes clear.
As always, stay tuned.
Update: This story has been updated to include a tweet from Aaron Bruski and ProBasketballTalk, who have been on this story from the start and reported tonight's news first.