Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said Tuesday he has been given permission by Commissioner David Stern to present a counter-offer for the Kings NBA franchise directly to the league's board of governors. The Maloof family, which owns the Sacramento Kings, reportedly has received an offer of $525 million from a group that wants to buy the team and move it to Seattle. Johnson called the offer "outrageous" during a State of Downtown address, according to The Sacramento Bee. He said he has a strategy to keep the Kings in Sacramento that includes creating an ownership group that will commit to keep the team in Sacramento and getting behind an arena plan that has been approved in the railyards north of the city's downtown. "We want this to be the final act of a saga that's gone on for far too long," said Johnson, referring to the Maloofs decade-long pursuit of a new arena and five-year flirtation with other markets. Johnson, whose relationship with the Maloofs has been strained since they turned down an NBA-backed arena plan last spring, added that the Maloofs can be involved "if they want to remain a part of this team and this community." Earlier Tuesday, officials from AEG entertainment company said they are still interested in building and running the proposed arena in the railyards should the Kings be sold and stay in the city. The Maloofs reportedly have been negotiating with the Seattle group that is led by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft's Steve Ballmer. That group already has an agreement with the city of Seattle to build a state-of-the-art arena in the south downtown area. In the meantime, three other groups have shown an interest in purchasing the Kings and keeping them in Sacramento. Mark Mastrov, the founder of 24-Hour Fitness, met with the Maloofs recently and, according to a CBSSports.com report, Mastrov has made a formal offer. Mastrov had made a bid to purchase the Golden State Warriors, but lost out to Joe Lacob and Peter Guber. Sleep Train executive Dale Carlsen said he is interested being involved in a group to keep the team in Sacramento. His mattress company this season purchased the naming rights to arena in which the Kings currently play. And on Saturday, the Sacramento Bee reported that JMA Ventures, which last year bought a failing downtown Sacramento mall, is interested in making a bid for the Kings. Citing JMA sources, the Bee reported the company would raze the mall and replace it with a new home for the Kings.
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- Sacramento Kings