SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says two investors want to buy the NBA's Kings and build a downtown arena to stop the proposed move of city's only major league sports team to Seattle.
Mark Mastrov, founder of 24 Hour Fitness, will make a bid for the team. Pittsburgh Penguins owner Ron Burkle will solve the city's other problem and lead a group to build a new downtown arena.
"With all due respect to Seattle, and I do wish them well and I do hope they get a team someday, let me be perfectly clear...it is not going to be this team. Not our team," said Johnson.
Johnson, a former NBA All-Star, made the announcement Thursday during his state of the city address. Johnson said Mastrov’s group will present a bid Friday to the NBA and the Kings owners, the Maloof family.
Microsoft Executive Steve Ballmer and hedge fund manager Chris Hansen have signed a deal with the Maloof Family to buy the Kings at a valuation of $525 million dollars. The franchise has already filed for relocation to Seattle.
It’s not clear exactly how much money Mastrov and Burkle are willing to spend. The Sacramento City Council just voted Tuesday to allow the City Manager to begin negotiations on an arena deal.
NBA owners will vote on the Kings transaction in April, and would have to reject the Ballmer/Hansen deal to consider a new bid.
Hansen’s group declined comment Thursday night.