The Sacramento Kings are staying in Sacramento and Power Balance Pavilion for at least one more season, as David Stern and other NBA officials persuaded the Maloofs to give the city until March 1, 2012, to come up with a new-arena plan.
The decision was made over the weekend and announced today, just before a 2 p.m. relocation-request deadline.
It’s a gamble, to be sure. Though business leaders came up with $10 million in ticket and sponsorship pledges for next season, the real future of the team lies in a new arena promoted by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. Funding for a new arena is far from a sure thing, given the economic-development problems on the state level and the unwillingness by surrounding counties to fund an arena.
“We need to see how it is going to be financed and quite frankly, we are not going into this with a big checkbook,” said George Maloof in making the announcement. “Is it even right to ask people to pay for it?”
Still, Maloof did not close the door on an Anaheim move, saying he expected the same deal offered by Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli to be on the table in a year: $75 million in loans and other assistance. (There’s also one tactical advantage to waiting a year: many expect labor unrest to disrupt next season in some manner, and if there’s a work stoppage, it’s probably better for the team to be in Sacramento than Anaheim.) There’s little doubt the Anaheim financial situation is better in the short term than what’s offered in Sacramento — but given the league’s aversion to moving franchises and the potential upside in seeing if a new arena is forthcoming, the Maloofs decided to gamble instead of going for the sure thing.
RELATED STORIES: Will Kings move? No one seems to know; Report: Kings likely to stay in Sacramento for ’11-’12; Kings relo app deadline pushed back to May 2; Anaheim to discuss aid for Kings; Maloofs shoot down Arco refurb; Kings: From boom to bust; With Kings eying Anaheim, Johnson vows to continue arena quest; 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
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