The latest installment of the ongoing fight to keep the Sacramento Kings in California unfolded Tuesday with 19 local investors standing behind Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson at a press conference and saying they would each put up $1 million to buy the team.
The so-called "whale" needed to make up the rest of the funding would be chosen later, Johnson said.
"I'm doing this for one reason. It's time to fight," said Phil Oates, chairman of Buzz Oates Group of Companies and a basketball coach at Capital Christian High School in Rosemont.
Developer David Taylor addressed the Maloof brothers, the controversial owners of the team.
"While they have been a difficult partner in some instances, they've been a good partner in others and I wish them well–but I wish they'd sell it to us," Taylor said. "And I think they will."
Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis, who stood on the podium behind Johnson, said in a Twitter post that he was excited to be involved.
"Pleased to stand with [Johnson] and leaders from across the region today to keep the Kings with new owners!" Davis wrote. "Time to throw elbows!"
The Sacramento group will present its offer to the NBA in April. The league's governing body must still OK the pending deal between the Maloofs and the Seattle-based group led by Steve Ballmer and Chris Hansen.
"I strongly believe they do deserve an NBA team at some point–just not ours," Johnson said of Seattle. "I would also caution the folks in Seattle–don't celebrate too early. We've had the emotional roller coasters. It's hard."
The Sacramento Business Journal identified the 19 investors as:
- Nate Allen
- Steve Ayer
- Dale Carlsen
- Dorene Dominguez
- Michael Fahn
- Ken Fahn
- Brad Jenkins
- Larry Kelley
- Rob Miller
- Kevin Nagle
- Phil Oates
- Mark Otero
- Scott Powell
- Aaron Reeves
- John Stone
- David Taylor
- Angelo Tsakopoulos
- Kyriakos Tsakopoulos
- Ali Youssefi