Burkle drops out of Sacramento’s Kings bid

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said Monday that a conflict of interest forced Burkle to back out.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Billionaire Ron Burkle will not be part of Sacramento’s bid to keep the Kings after all.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said Monday that a conflict of interest forced Burkle to back out. Instead, Johnson said the Southern California businessman and co-owner of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins will focus on the development around a proposed new downtown arena — and not the arena itself.

Burkle is part-owner of Relativity Sports, which manages some NBA players’ careers. Johnson said the conflict surfaced during a meeting with NBA Commissioner David Stern and league owners in New York last week and “it won’t slow us up.”

Burkle had been expected to lead the development of a Sacramento arena. He also planned to join other wealthy investors trying to block a bid from a group that is hoping to buy and move the Kings to Seattle next season.

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