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Kings sale finalized; Smart dismissed as coach

The SportsXchange

The sale of the Sacramento Kings was finalized Friday, and later in the day, the Kings announced that head coach Keith Smart will not be retained.

The Maloof family announced that their agreement to sell the Kings and the Sleep Train Arena to the Sacramento investor group led by Vivek Ranadive for an NBA-record $535 million closed escrow.

It came as no surprise that one of the first acts of the new ownership was to dismiss Smart.

"The Kings would like to thank Keith for his hard work and dedication to the organization," said Ranadive in a statement. "We wish him and his family nothing but the best in future endeavors."

Smart said in a statement, "I enjoyed my time immensely in Sacramento. From working with the people in basketball operations to the business side of the organization to interacting with the people of the city, it was a pleasure to be around such a classy group."

Smart became head coach when Paul Westphal was relieved of his duties on January 5, 2012. He had a 48-93 record with the Kings.

The new ownership is expected to make a number of changes now that the sale has been finalized after months of discussion.

"We respect and would like to acknowledge the NBA Board of Governors' dedication and diligence in working through this process over the past several months," Kings co-owner George Maloof said in a statement. "On behalf of my family, I would like to thank Commissioner David Stern and the NBA staff who worked tirelessly on this transaction. I also would like to praise Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Sacramento City Council and staff for their efforts and loyalty to the Sacramento community.

"We congratulate Vivek Ranadive and the entire Sacramento investor group for their willingness to come forward and purchase the franchise for the people of Sacramento. We are confident they will provide the stewardship necessary to continue to guide the organization to successful levels."

NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement: "We are pleased for both the Maloof family and the Ranadive group, but particularly pleased for the fans of the Kings."

The Maloofs owned the Kings for 14 years. During that span, the team made the playoffs seven times, including Pacific Division championships in 2001-02 and 2002-03, and advanced to the Western Conference Finals in 2002.

"The success of the Sacramento Kings has been due largely in part to the dedication and enthusiasm of our team members, coaches, players, and fans," co-owner Joe Maloof said in a statement. "Since our family has owned the franchise, the people of Sacramento have warmly brought the Kings into their hearts and for that we will always be grateful. As we look forward to an exciting new chapter in our family business enterprise, we will never forget the people of Sacramento and everything they have done for the Kings organization."

The Maloofs tried to sell the team to a Seattle group that would have moved the team, but the NBA Board of Governors rejected the move of the team and approved the sale to the Sacramento group that will keep the team in the area. It will focus on building a new arena in Sacramento.
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