The Maloof Brothers, owners of the Sacramento Kings, have officially announced that they'll be selling the team to a Seattle-based group led by Chris Hansen, but there are reports of a final push by the city of Sacramento to keep the team in California past this season.
Two investors, Ron Burkle and Mark Mastrov, are reportedly in serious talks with the city to collaborate on a purchase of the team in order to keep the Kings in Sacramento.
After the announcement by the Maloofs, it seemed as if it were a foregone conclusion that the sale would be approved by the NBA, and the team would be moved to Seattle as soon as possible, presumably for the start of next season.
Burkle and Mastrov are supposedly just one of five groups of people who have approached the city in an attempt to stop the team from moving, but these two have to have the best credentials.
As the co-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins alongside Mario Lemieux, Burkle has experience owning a model NHL franchise, while Mastrov has plenty of money to offer up as the founder of 24 Hour Fitness.
The two have talked to the city about their belief (via The Sacramento Bee) that Sacramento is a better market for the NBA than the rival Seattle market, and it has access to many investors.
So here we have it: one last chance for Sacramento to hold onto its team and save a rash decision by the league to block the sale or even move the team, both of which seem unlikely if Hansen's group purchases it.
How realistic is it that the city will be able to save the team, and in the end, will all of the effort by Mayor Kevin Johnson even matter?
At this point, it's easy to think the Maloofs have gone too far for the sale of the team to be reversed.
Paired with the fact that NBA Commissioner David Stern is determined, before he retires, to replace the team who he allowed to be stolen away from Seattle, this seems very close to being a done deal.
Is there a chance that the deal with Hansen will be reversed? Sure, why not?
It would definitely look good for the league to paint the picture that it "saved" the team from the evil Maloofs and their plan to sell the team away from Sacramento, but it's starting to become a long shot.
Every hour that passes is another step closer to the Kings becoming the SuperSonics, so the sooner something happens with these new knights in shining armor, the better.