Kings deal on track, but Maloofs remain wild card

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by CHRIS DANIELS / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on January 10, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 11 at 8:02 PM

A formal announcement that the Sacramento Kings will move to Seattle is not imminent, according to sources close to the ongoing talks, though the investment group negotiating to buy the team appears close to a deal.

Yahoo! Sports reporter Adrian Wojnarowski said the NBA is committed to moving the Kings to Seattle. "The league has been heavily involved, the league office have been heavily involved with putting together and fortifying this ownership group and the arena, and the arena in Seattle," he said.

Wojnarowski, who has sources throughout the NBA organization, added, "I think there is too much invested for this thing to go sideways."

One factor in Seattle's favor is that the Maloof family, owners of the Kings franchise, are tired of trying to make the team a success in Sacramento. "The option of keeping that team in sacramento for another year is not appealing financially for them, for the league," Wojnarowski said.

But guessing what the Maloofs will do is not easy. Sacramento Bee reporter Ryan Lillis said the family owes million to the city and possibly $125 million to the NBA -- financial pressure that could push the Maloofs to agree to a $500 million deal with Chris Hansen and the rest of the group hoping to bring the Kings to Seattle.

Meanwhile, reaching a deal with the Maloofs is just part of what it will take to bring the NBA back to Seattle. Hansen and his group must navigate an environmental review of their proposed $490 million arena project, and the Port of Seattle and unionized dock workers remain vocal in their opposition to locating the arena near the port.

But one obstacle appears to be going away. Bart Waldman, a top official with the Seattle Mariners, hinted that the team is warming up to the arena proposal. He said he is "excited to see the NBA back in Seattle" and that the team will work with the city on the envornmental review.

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