SBD/April 13, 2011/Franchises

Chris Webber Involved In Effort To Keep Kings In Sacramento

Webber reportedly has been rebuffed by Maloofs in efforts to buy into Kings
Former NBAer Chris Webber last night said he is trying to organize an effort to keep the Kings in Sacramento, though he acknowledged the team's relocation to Anaheim is "probably a gone ship anyway." Webber, who played for the Kings from '99-'05, during last night's episode of TNT's "Inside The NBA" said, "I'm doing all I can to keep the team there. I may sound like a fool on national TV, but I believe we can keep the team there. I'm working to do that." Webber: "Even if that ship is leaving the shore, I've got an anchor and some people -- we're throwing it trying to hitch it to the back of the boat and keep pulling the team back. What else am I supposed to do? I love being here with you guys everyday, but I still want to have a home in Sacramento, where my team is. ... Hopefully it's not a lost cause." TNT's Charles Barkley said he supports Webber's efforts and pledged to give Webber's group a "few million dollars." Webber said to Kings fans, "Go to the game tomorrow. Don't let them leave!" Barkley said, "I really like the Maloof brothers, I want to make that perfectly clear. But I'm very disappointed in them because they should have found a way to keep that team in Sacramento." As the show was going to commercial break, Barkley said, "We can get some people together and buy that team" ("Inside the NBA," TNT, 4/13). In Sacramento, Ailene Voisin reported Webber "has made overtures about buying into the Maloofs' majority ownership, but has been rebuffed." Former Kings Exec VP Greg Van Dusen said that Webber is "willing to facilitate a deal" headed by Idaho-based businessman Roger Stewart to restructure the city's $77M loan to the team. Van Dusen, who is working with Power Balance Pavilion architect Rann Haight, said, "We've been working on this for about three months. The idea is to relieve some of the financial pressure on the Maloofs and the ownership group" (SACBEE.com, 4/12).

LAST HURRAH? In Sacramento, Jason Jones notes Kings players "have no idea" if tonight's season-ending game against the Lakers at Power Balance Pavilion "will be their last game as the Sacramento Kings." The Maloofs have "until Monday to apply for relocation to Anaheim," and the family "will discuss its options" at the NBA BOG meetings this week in N.Y. Tonight's game is "expected to be packed with nostalgic Kings fans seeking a win over the rival Lakers," and "because the Kings have been selling standing-room-only tickets, the game potentially could exceed the 17,317 sellout total" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/13). The BEE's Voisin writes, "Tonight is about a special place, special fans, and, yes, a special opponent" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/13).
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