SACRAMENTO -- Each city has a wealthy basketball fanatic with a burning desire to own an NBA franchise and the backing of an even wealthier financier who has the muscle to make it happen.
The battle for the Sacramento Kings was formally joined early Friday. Mark Mastrov and Ron Burkle submitted to NBA headquarters their proposal to buy the Kings and keep the team from moving to Seattle. In the weeks to come, they will join Mayor Kevin Johnson in presenting the league with a companion proposal to build a new arena at the site of ailing Downtown Plaza.
Still, it's far from certain that Mastrov and Burkle can pry the team from Seattle investors Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, who have even deeper pockets and a deal in place to purchase the Kings from the Maloof family.