Yesterday Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson held a pep rally to announce the fact he'd rounded up 20 investors willing to pony up $1 million apiece to help make a counteroffer for the NBA's Kings. While there were allusions to a deep-pocketed "whale" that would solidify the offer, nothing concrete was provided on the whale front.
Today, however, the Sacramento Bee is reporting that billionaire Ron Burkle and 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov "are in serious discussions to team up on a bid to buy the Sacramento Kings and partner with the city of Sacramento on a plan to help finance a new downtown sports arena."
From the Bee:
A source familiar with the negotiations told The Bee late Tuesday that Burkle and Mastrov are both committed to keeping the team in Sacramento and building the Kings into a contender. The teaming of Burkle and Mastrov is seen by city officials as a "dream team" counteroffer to the group that this week reached a deal with the Maloof family to buy the Kings and move the franchise to Seattle, the source said.
The purchase offer would be combined with a concrete plan to finance a new downtown sports arena when Johnson makes his pitch to reject the Seattle deal directly to the NBA's board of governors. Johnson will also argue that Sacramento is a more supportive NBA market than Seattle was when it was home to the SuperSonics.
Ladies and gentleman, it appears we have our whale(s).