The team trying to keep the Sacramento Kings in town underwent another roster change Tuesday, as prominent Sacramento developer Mark Friedman signed onto the effort. Friedman came aboard one day after Southern California billionaire Ron Burkle was forced to scale back his involvement because of a conflict of interest. Friedman, whose family controls Arden Fair mall and other properties, said the timing of the announcements was coincidental. He said he's been thinking of investing in the Kings since January, when the Maloof family agreed to sell its controlling interest in the team to a group from Seattle for $341 million. Although the NBA is planning to decide next week whether to let the team move, Mayor Kevin Johnson said league officials aren't bothered that the structure of Sacramento's bid remains somewhat fluid. "They always knew (the investors) had more than enough money," Johnson said at a City Hall news conference welcoming Friedman to the effort. NBA spokesman Mike Bass declined to comment on the Sacramento ownership situation Tuesday. Johnson said he mentioned Friedman to the NBA team owners and league officials who met in New York last week to hear competing presentations from Sacramento and Seattle. The NBA representatives responded favorably, the mayor said. "They thought that gives us one of our advantages, the fact that we have such a strong local presence (in the bid)," Johnson said. The mayor earlier recruited 20 other area investors to participate in the Kings bid by investing $1 million apiece, although it's unclear what role they would play. Friedman joins lead investors Vivek Ranadive, a Silicon Valley software tycoon; Mark Mastrov, a health club financier from the East Bay; and the Jacobs family of San Diego, founders of wireless giant Qualcomm Inc. Burkle is now limiting himself to investing in real estate development adjacent to the proposed arena at Downtown Plaza and will no longer invest in the team or the arena itself. At the same time, a source said Monday that the Jacobses have agreed to increase their participation in the project. Friedman said he will invest in all three elements of the effort: team, arena and surrounding redevelopment at the struggling mall. The redevelopment could include a hotel, offices, retail and more. While he wouldn't say how much he's investing, Friedman, the president of Fulcrum Group, said, "I'm making a big bet. … What this will do is ignite the downtown."
Developer Friedman joins Sacramento group pursuing Kings
Sacramento Bee | Apr 10