At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson announced his plan to keep the Kings in town.
Johnson said that 19 people in three days have come forward to pledge $1 million towards a counter-offer to purchase the team. However, he did not reveal the “white whale,” who is apparently a wealthy individual who would boost Sacramento’s effort to keep the team.
“We are making great progress on the whales, “Johnson said. “There are multiple groups that are interested in coming in at the level we need.”
He claims that Sacramento would be ready to submit a “fair and competitive” offer by April to the NBA Board of Governors.
“It is unprecedented for a team to be relocated from a city that has done everything that this community has done for 28 years,” said Johnson. “I do believe that [Seattle] deserves an NBA team at some point. Just not ours.”
Earlier this week, it was announced that the Maloofs had sold the Kings to a Seattle-based investment group headed by Chris Hansen. However, Johnson and the city of Sacramento are not giving up the fight, and will do everything in their power to convince the rest of the owners to vote the deal down.
Johnson reminded Seattle fans to be “cautiously optimistic,” but not to celebrate too early.