With a self-imposed Friday deadline approaching, the Sacramento City Council will be asked this week to give the OK for the city to begin...

With a self-imposed Friday deadline approaching, the Sacramento City Council will be asked this week to give the OK for the city to begin negotiations on an arena-financing proposal with a private investment group, The Sacramento Bee reported Saturday.

The Bee called the news “a sign that Sacramento’s arena effort has gained a sense of urgency in recent days.”

The Bee reported that Sacramento city manager John Shirey wants city council approval “before entering into formal talks with a group that reportedly wants to make a bid to buy the Sacramento Kings and to join with the city in financing and building a downtown arena.” The council meets Tuesday.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is attempting to assemble an ownership group and arena plan to present a counteroffer to that made by a Seattle group led by Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Johnson has said he wanted to have that proposal done by Friday.

The Seattle group has reached an agreement with the current owners, the Maloof family, to buy the team with a plan to relocate it to Seattle for the 2013-14 season. But that purchase needs approval from the NBA Board of Governors, which will meet in mid-April.

The Bee reported that “both the manager (Shirey) and the mayor (Johnson) have had recent informal talks with the (Sacramento) group, which is reported to be led by billionaire grocery businessman Ron Burkle and 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov.”

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com.