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David Stern: Recommendation on Kings expected next week

  • NBA Commissioner David Stern, right, accompanied by Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, addresses reporters following the NBA Board of Governors' annual meeting in New York's St. Regis Hotel, Friday, April 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK — A recommendation on the Kings' sale and possible move to Seattle could be issued as soon as next week and a final decision made early next month, ending a process NBA Commissioner David Stern called the most "wrenching" of his career.

The committee reviewing the bids by a Seattle group that has an agreement to buy the franchise and a Sacramento contingent that wants to keep it in California's capital city is expected to meet late next week and make its recommendation. A vote by the full NBA Board of Governors could then take place as soon as the week of May 6, with Stern indicating the owners will first decide on whether they would be willing to approve relocation.

Stern also said the Sacramento bid is "in the ballpark" financially with the deal from a Seattle group headed by Chris Hansen, though the Maloof family disputed that in a letter to the advisory and finance committee.

Obtained by The Associated Press, the Maloofs' letter dated April 17 said the Sacramento group originally matched the $525 million valuation for the franchise agreed to by Hansen, whose group includes Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer. Then last week, Hansen increased the valuation offer to $550 million.

The Maloofs said the Sacramento group has asked not to enter into a binding agreement until the Seattle deal is terminated. The Maloofs said that would be a breach of contract and cost them the "leverage to aggressively renegotiate terms in the event the existing agreement is terminated."

"Based on these factors ... we and our advisers see no reason to continue any dialogue with the Sacramento group or to give any further consideration to negotiating backup offers based on its latest non-binding proposal," the letter said.

Stern said a decision will need to be made in time so that the team's placard can say either Seattle — which lost the SuperSonics to Oklahoma City in 2008 — or Sacramento when it reports to New York for the May 21 draft lottery.

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