The Maloof family is threatening not to sell the Kings to the group that wants to keep the team in Sacramento, a source told The Bee on Saturday.
The source, who is close to the Sacramento investor group, said he's been told the Maloofs have made a backup deal to sell a minority share of the Kings to Seattle investors Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer. The deal would be an alternative in case the NBA vetoes the Maloofs' proposal to sell the entire 65 percent of the team they control to Hansen and Ballmer for $406 million.
ESPN.com, which broke the story, said the Maloofs would sell 20 percent of the team to Hansen and Ballmer for $125 million. The plan would keep the Maloofs, who are struggling financially, in charge of the franchise.
ESPN also reported that Hansen and Ballmer have offered the NBA a relocation fee of $115 million to let them move the team to Seattle. That's nearly three or four times as much as the league has historically charged for a relocation; the money is split among other owners.
The latest move by the Maloofs and the Seattle investors came one day after Hansen and Ballmer sweetened their offer for the Maloofs' 65 percent share - to $406 million from $357 million. It also comes just days before the NBA board of governors is expected to decide on the Kings' fate next week at a meeting in Dallas.
Two sources close to the Sacramento group said the investors, led by Vivek Ranadive, are unfazed by the latest moves by the Maloofs, Hansen and Ballmer.
"Doesn't change our approach," one source said.
The Ranadive group has offered $341 million - matching Hansen and Ballmer's original deal with the Maloofs in January. Hansen and Ballmer raised their bid to $357 million last month.
The source close to Ranadive said the Sacramento investors don't plan to raise their offer.
"Sacramento has made their bid and is comfortable where they are," he said.