sport

Kings set for Seattle

The NBA appears set to return to Seattle after the sale of the Sacramento Kings franchise to a group from the Emerald City was agreed.

The league confirmed in a statement that the Maloof family have agreed to sell the team to a group led by Seattle native Chris Hansen. The fee is reported to be US $340million (215million) for a 65 per cent stake in the team.

"The NBA received an executed purchase and sale agreement for the transfer of a controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings from the Maloof family to an investor group led by Christopher Hansen," the league said.

"The proposed transaction is subject to the approval of the NBA board of governors and has been referred to the board's committee process for review."

The group has a deal in place to build a new arena in Seattle and plans to move the team there and restore the SuperSonics name, last used before the previous franchise moved to Oklahoma City in 2008.

If approval is received from the NBA in time, the team could be moved to Seattle as early as next season, playing in the old KeyArena while a new facility is built.

Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson has vowed to fight to keep the team in Sacramento and has said he will present a counter-offer for the NBA to consider.