Sacramento Kings sale to Vivek Ranadive group complete

By Antonio Gonzalez

Associated Press

Published: Friday, May 31 2013 6:55 p.m. MDT

Former owners Joe Maloof, left, and brother Gavin Maloof, right, of the Sacramento Kings, talk with rookie guard Jimmer Fredette, center, the team's first pick in the 2011 NBA draft. The Maloofs sold the Kings to Vivek Ranadive. The transaction was completed Friday.

Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press

A new owner is in place. A new coach is on the way. And for the first time in 14 years, Sacramento Kings fans can celebrate a new era.

The Maloof family completed the sale of the Kings and Sleep Train Arena to a group led by TIBCO Software chairman Vivek Ranadive on Friday, officially transferring ownership of the NBA franchise. Ranadive's group acquired a 65 percent controlling interest in the team at a total franchise valuation of more than $534 million, topping the NBA record of $450 million that Joe Lacob and Peter Guber bought the Golden State Warriors for in 2010.

"We are pleased for both the Maloof family and the Ranadive group, but particularly pleased for the fans of the Kings," NBA Commissioner David Stern said.

Brothers George, Joe and Gavin Maloof also released statements thanking NBA owners, Stern and the family's limited partners with the Kings. George Maloof specifically praised Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the City Council "for their efforts and loyalty to the Sacramento community."

Ranadive already has been busy making moves to rebuild the fallen franchise.

The Kings have an agreement in place with Warriors assistant Mike Malone to become their head coach, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly, said Malone was Ranadive's top choice.

Malone's hiring officially ends Keith Smart's tenure. Smart took over the Kings for the fired Paul Westphal in January 2012 and had one year remaining on his contract.

Ranadive, formerly a minority owner or the Warriors, still has to hire a general manager — a move that typically comes before finding a coach; the contract for president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie ends June 30.

In a statement released through the Kings, Ranadive thanked all involved.

"Mayor Kevin Johnson and the leadership group of Sacramento should be commended for their relentless efforts, hard work and tireless drive to keep the Kings in the city where they belong," Ranadive said. "We also extend our thanks to the Maloof Family for their support and cooperation throughout the sale process. Because of their efforts, this team has risen to an impressive legacy, which includes the most passionate fanbase in the NBA.

"Again, thank you to Sacramento Kings fans for their unwavering commitment and loyalty to myself and this organization. Without them, this success would not have become a reality. At the end of the day, this team belongs to the people of Sacramento, and our mission is to support them. We are excited to begin the process of building a 21st century franchise that will be a source of pride and excitement for years to come."

The sale's completion capped a comeback few outside California's capital city believed would happen.

After owners blocked the Maloofs' agreement with investor Chris Hansen to buy and relocate the Kings to Seattle earlier in May at a total franchise valuation of $625 million, the family pushed ahead with the "backup offer" to sell the team to Ranadive's group.

The Sacramento group also includes 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, former Facebook senior executive Chris Kelly and the Jacobs family that owns communications giant Qualcomm.

"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," George Maloof said.

The transfer of the team ended the Maloof family's topsy-turvy reign as majority owners of the team.

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