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Sacramento Mayor To Announce Kings 'Whale' Investors At State Of The City Address

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - After weeks of behind the scenes work, Mayor Kevin Johnson is expected to reveal the highly speculated names of the deep-pocket investors he's lined up to bid on the Sacramento Kings.

CBS13 has learned Johnson will make his announcement Thursday evening in front of a packed crowd during his State of the City address at Memorial Auditorium.

The announcement comes just hours before his NBA deadline of March 1, and two days after the city council approved entering formal arena-financing negotiations with his soon-to-be-named group.

"I'm so proud of this council and this community. Over the last couple of years, we've had 15 votes all in favor of moving this darned process along," Johnson said at Tuesday's city council meeting.

Ron Burkle and Mark Mastrov are reported to be in discussions to counter Seattle's deal to buy the Kings. It's unclear whether one or the other, or both, will officially be announced.

Local business leaders who've pledged a million dollars each to keep the team in Sacramento are watching and waiting as well.

"We all want the answers today and I understand being impatient, but you need to let the mayor and the leadership that he's providing do their due diligence and ask the right questions," said local businessman Phil Oates.

Meanwhile, Kings minority owner John Kehriotis, who owns Sacramento's Embassy Suites Hotel, has reached out directly to the Maloofs about a group he's assembling to bid on the Kings and build a privately-financed arena.

Kehriotis told CBS13 he is also in talks with Sacramento City Manager John Shirey.

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