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May 13 2013 | 10:40am ET
Undeterred by the National Basketball Association's apparent unwillingness to allow him to move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle, hedge fund manager Christopher Hansen has offered even more for the team.
Hansen and his group, which includes Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, boosted their offer for the 65% of the Kings owned by the Maloof family by $49 million, increasing the already-record valuation of the team to $625 million from $550 million. And, with the NBA set to make a final decision of the team's relocation Wednesday, the Maloofs have upped the ante further, saying if the NBA refuses to allow the move, they'll sell a 20% stake in the Kings to Hansen and wait it out.
Hansen has also agreed to pay a relocation fee more than four times the amount paid by when the Seattle SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008, and guaranteed that the team would pay into the NBA's revenue-sharing pool for its entire tenure in Seattle.
Still, the odds against the Hansen group seem long: The NBA's relocation committee voted unanimously to keep the team in California's capital last month; if those seven owners stick to that decision and one other joins them, Seattle's bid is dead. What is more, the NBA could reject the Maloofs' deal to sell a minority stake in the Kings to Hansen. And it isn't clear that the Maloofs are so dead-set on the deal they've agreed with Hansen, anyway: The New York Times reports that they are in talks with a group that would keep the Kings in Sacramento.