The owners of the Sacramento Kings have set a deadline of 5 p.m. on Friday to receive a binding offer from a Sacramento group attempting to keep the team from relocating to Seattle.

The owners of the Sacramento Kings have set a deadline of 5 p.m. on Friday to receive a binding offer from a Sacramento group attempting to keep the team from relocating to Seattle.

That's according to a report from The Sacramento Bee, one of several that emerged Wednesday about the city's potential offer to buy the Kings from the current owners, the Maloof family.

A Sacramento TV station, KCRA, reported earlier in the day that California State Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said Sacramento had already assembled an offer that matched that of Seattle's "dollar-for-dollar."

A subsequent report from the Sacramento Business Journal reported that a Steinberg spokesman said he meant only to say that Sacramento's offer was competitive with Seattle's. And The Bee quoted Steinberg as saying the Sacramento bid "is as strong as the Seattle offer. It is equivalent to the Seattle offer."

Steinberg's office did not respond to a Seattle Times request for comment. Steinberg was among those who represented Sacramento last week when a select group of NBA owners, as well as commissioner David Stern, heard presentations from both cities stating their case for the Kings.

Based on The Bee report, some clarity about Sacramento's offer could come by Friday. The paper reported the family wants to see a binding bid that matches what Seattle has offered or it will no longer consider offers from Sacramento.

The offer would be a backup bid to that made by a Seattle group led by Chris Hansen and would be considered only if the NBA does not approve the sale to Hansen's group.

The Maloof family agreed in January to sell 65 percent of the team to the Seattle group for $341 million, based on a total valuation of $525 million, the most ever for an NBA franchise.

However, sales must be approved by the NBA Board of Governors. Since news of the Maloof/Seattle sales agreement, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has led an effort to counter, assembling an investment group to help build an arena and make a competitive bid for the team.

That effort would go for naught if Sacramento could not make a bid that would come close to that of Seattle's. An initial Sacramento bid was deemed by Stern to not be worth consideration.

After Stern made that statement, Sacramento's ownership group was reconfigured with Vivek Ranadive, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and a current part-owner of the Golden State Warriors, becoming the leader. Also since added to the group are Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs and Sacramento developer Mark Friedman.

Stern indicated at the meetings last week in New York that Sacramento's offer would be, or had been, increased. He said Sacramento's offer "was not an issue."

No one there, however, answered definitively when asked if the Sacramento offer matched that of Seattle's. Stern has also said he did not want the Seattle/Sacramento battle over the Kings to become "a bidding war." However, it is thought the Seattle group can increase its offer for the Kings.

George Maloof represented the Kings at the NBA meetings last week and reportedly reiterated that the family wants to sell the team to the Seattle group. It won't be much of a debate if the Sacramento group does not have an offer that matches that of Seattle's.

A Friday deadline for a Sacramento offer might increase the chances that a decision on the fate of the Kings is made when the NBA Board of Governors meets April 18-19 in New York.

After the meetings last week, however, Stern said the decision could go past that date.