Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer, part of the group attempting to purchase the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle, said Thursday he believes ”there will never be a better opportunity” than now to bring back professional basketball to the Puget Sound.

Ballmer, who has been mostly quiet about his basketball pursuit, spoke briefly Thursday before a fundraising luncheon for the A PLUS youth program in Seattle. His brief comment came hours after an NBA spokesman confirmed that the NBA committee deciding whether the Sacramento Kings should be sold and relocated to Seattle will hold a meeting via conference call Monday.

”Today is about A PLUS. I will say that we’ve got our fingers crossed. Chris Hansen has worked really, really hard, really intelligently,” Ballmer said. ”Seattle has got a great bid. We’ve got a great arena plan. I think we’ve got the better arena plan. We’ve got a good offer, it’s been accepted by current owners. We’ve got a great market. It seems like there will never be a better opportunity. But it will be up to the NBA owners.”

– Reported by Tim Booth of the Associated Press