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.