SBD/February 25, 2011/Franchises

Kings Ask NBA For Extension To Decide About Possible Relocation

Kings fans aiming to sell out Monday's home game against the Clippers
The NBA Kings took "another small step toward relocation Thursday, requesting permission from the league to extend the March 1 deadline they were facing to formally file for a move to Anaheim, Calif., in time for next season," according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The extension would allow Kings Owners the Maloofs to "review their options with the NBA's Board of Governors at its April 14-15 meeting in New York." NBA Senior VP/Basketball Communications Tim Frank said that the BOG is "reviewing the request." The request is the "latest and perhaps strongest signal to date that the Kings want to move south after a 26-season run in Sacramento," though receiving an extension "won't guarantee an official request to move would be approved" by the NBA BOG. Relocation requires a majority approval among the league's 30 teams, and sources indicated that the Lakers are "strongly opposed to the idea of a third NBA franchise moving to Southern California, largely since the Honda Center sits 30 miles" from Staples Center, the team's shared home with the Clippers. While the Lakers and Clippers "would possess one vote each, it's believed they will seek support from other teams to vote against a Kings move to Anaheim if the process gets that far." Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson "reacted with dismay" to news of the extension request. He said, "We're going to fight. The deal is not done. We know they're looking elsewhere. But it's not a done deal. If it was a done deal, they would have filed on March 1." Stein noted the Maloofs "first have to come to terms on a loan and lease arrangement" with Ducks Owner Henry Samueli, whose management runs Honda Center, "before they can even take their plan to the league's owners for a vote" (ESPN.com, 2/24).

KEEPING THE FAITH: Johnson on Thursday said that he was "upset that he had to hear the news via Google alert, rather than from the Kings themselves." Johnson: "I would have preferred a phone call in advance. Sacramento deserves better than this." In a press conference Thursday evening, Johnson "alternated between disappointment and defiance, saying he believes the Kings and the Sacramento community can still work something out." The mayor said that he and team officials "have arranged a meeting next Tuesday when he hopes both sides can explain where they stand and clear the air." Johnson also "called on the Kings to make good on their promise to turn over financial documents to Sacramento developer David Taylor, who along with arena builder ICON Venue Group was tapped by the city this spring to devise a financing plan for a new downtown arena" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/25). 

SHOW OF SUPPORT: A SACRAMENTO BEE editorial notes a group of Kings fans is "pushing to sell out Monday night's home game" at Arco Arena. Their goal is to "revive the raucous, ear-numbing roar of Arco Arena when Sacramento was known throughout the country for its love of NBA ball." The editorial states, "We hope it works. Sacramento can't make a claim for keeping the Kings if its fans can't fill an arena, at least some of the time. ... While attendance at a single game is unlikely to influence the Maloofs' decision to relocate, it surely will send a message" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/25).
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