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Will the Kings stay in Sacramento or move to Seattle? The battle is set…

According to ESPN.com, the NBA received an official offer Friday (March 1) from 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov and billionaire Ron Burkle to buy the Sacramento Kings and keep the team from moving to Seattle.

Financial details of the proposal were unknown at press time.

Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, a retired NBA player, announced the Mastrov-Burkle bid during his State of the City address Thursday night (February 28), calling it a “competitive offer.” He also tweeted (@KJ_MayorJohnson) Friday: “The proposal is IN!! A proud day for Sacramento!!”

Johnson announced the proposal, publicly, on the eve of his self-imposed March 1 deadline.

A Seattle group, led by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, had a signed agreement since January to acquire a 65% stake in the team for $341 million from the Maloof family… and had already petitioned the league to relocate the team to Seattle for next season, restore the SuperSonics name, and play in KeyArena for at least two years while a new downtown arena is constructed.

But, Johnson had other plans… and that was to attempt to keep the team in Sacramento.

Sacramento hopes to revitalize the city with an arena at the Downtown Plaza shopping mall owned by JMA Ventures. To show Sacramento support for the Kings, Johnson also lined up at least 20 local investors who each committed $1 million, which hoped to buy a 7% share of the team now under control of a federal bankruptcy court.

Stay tuned…