SBD/March 4, 2011/Franchises

Sacramento Mayor Believes Kings Owners Have Their Sights Set On Anaheim

Johnson does not think Sacramento can influence Maloofs' decision
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson Thursday said that his 40-minute meeting with Kings Owners the Maloofs Wednesday "left him believing that the team has its sights set on Anaheim, and that Sacramento's only chance is if negotiations in Southern California fall through," according to Tony Bizjak of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Johnson said he does "not think Sacramento can influence the outcome" of the Maloof family's negotiations. Johnson added that the Maloofs "told him that they are not willing to hand over pivotal financial documents to a Sacramento-sponsored team that is studying how to build an arena in the city." Johnson said he took that as a sign the Maloofs are "fully exploring their options, which appears to be Anaheim." Johnson added that the Maloofs "also said 'absolutely not' when he asked if they would be willing to sell the team if an ownership group from Sacramento steps up to buy it." Johnson noted that the Maloofs are "business owners and must do what works best for them," and that Sacramento is a "mid-sized market with an old arena." Johnson: "Even if our team is selling out, if you don't have more luxury suites and more club seats, it's hard economically to compete." However, Johnson said that Sacramento "still has a chance to keep the team." Johnson: "If the dust settles, and Anaheim is not where they end up, they would 100 percent be willing to sit down with the ICON/Taylor group moving forward" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 3/4).

POINT/COUNTERPOINT: ESPN L.A.'s Arash Markazi wrote of the Kings' potential move, "Anaheim would no doubt embrace their new NBA team and its owners, the Maloofs, who would serve as the anti-Donald Sterling when it comes to interacting with fans and players and making the team an integral part of the community." However, ESPN L.A.'s Ramona Shelburne wrote, "The issue isn't whether Southern California can support three NBA franchises. It can. But the timing for this move couldn't be worse. Why in the world would you want to move a team that hasn't been relevant in almost a decade? To a town with two franchises on the rise? Heading into what will likely be a lockout season? In a down economy?" (ESPNLA.com, 3/3).
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