SBJ/May 9-15, 2011/Opinion

Who will deliver for Kings?

How we see it

Good work by the NBA, the Maloofs and especially Mayor Kevin Johnson to keep the Kings in Sacramento for another year as they pledge to work toward a new arena agreement. It was the right move, but skepticism abounds given the city’s previous inability to create a viable arena plan. The reprieve also rings a bit hollow coming before what could be a season lost to a lockout.

Yet the “stay” offers the city a chance to back up its impressive rally to save the Kings. Johnson had perhaps the finest moment of any mayor in recent memory in handling such adversity. He delivered the goods in front of the NBA board of governors and put the pressure back on the Maloofs.

The family has been a good owner, but one can’t overlook what has happened to its financial empire. The Maloofs have been honest in saying they need financial help to survive in small-market Sacramento. A new arena will help, but most importantly, in our mind, so will a revamped revenue-sharing plan that the league vows will come with a new CBA.

Yes, the Maloofs saw big TV money, more arena revenue and even support from prospective partner Henry Samueli. But for the NBA to thrive in low-revenue markets like Sacramento, Memphis and Charlotte, it must share the wealth.

Anaheim officials must wonder what it takes to land a team. But let’s not forget that David Stern virtually gave Clippers owner Donald Sterling free run of the market, but he passed it up for Los Angeles.

Now, Anaheim waits to see if Johnson, the city, the league and the Maloofs can deliver on their good intentions.

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