With the Maloofs closer to committing to a move of the Sacramento Kings (NBA) to Anaheim for the 2011-2012 season, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says his community will continue the fight for a new arena.
Commissioner David Stern comfirmed there were talks to move the Kings to Honda Center next season. No surprise: with no arena solution on the horizon in Sacramento and Arco Arena at the end of its economic life as an NBA facility, the Maloofs are under increasing economic pressure to find a new home for the team. While Las Vegas may have been the perfect solution — the Maloofs also own trendy Palms Casino — the lack of a good NBA facility (no, Thomas & Mack Center is not an NBA-quality arena) and the size of the market worked against this solution. The deadline to inform the NBA of an impending move is March 1.
Enter Anaheim, where Anaheim Ducks (NHL) owner Henry Samueli has reported offered the Maloofs a $100 million loan as a condition of moving the team to Honda Center. There may be some obstacles to the move to Orange County — the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers will surely oppose it, though in the NBA it takes a simple majority of owners to approve a move, and relocations fees are not a mandatory part of the transfer — but the move would clean up the Kings’ finances (and the Maloofs’, who have had some issues in the past few years) and increase the NBA’s presence in the country’s second-largest media market.
Meanwhile, Mayor Johnson says the move won’t deter arena talks, though surely many will step up and say the city shouldn’t bother investing anything in an arena once the Kings are gone. “I am obviously aware of the rumors and speculation about the Kings and Anaheim,” the mayor said in an e-mail to the Sacramento Bee Sunday evening. “But I’m not aware of any deal having been completed. So, as far as I’m concerned, the Kings are still Sacramento’s team and deserve our full support.”
RELATED STORIES: ; Maloofs sell naming rights to arena; admit to looking at moving NBA’s Kings; Johnson: We’ll take another run at new Kings arena; NBA: We’re done with Sacramento arena efforts; Consultant: It makes no sense to move Cal Expo as part of arena project; Maloof: We’re not looking at move to Seattle; Size of Arco Arena site threatens Kings arena deal
Sign up for the free weekly Arena Digest newsletter and keep up with the latest happenings! You can sign up here.