Anaheim Mayor Says NBA Kings "Closer" To Moving To Orange County
Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait last night said the city is "closer" to landing an NBA team, the first time an Anaheim city official has spoken publicly about the Kings' potential move to Honda Center, according to Eric Carpenter of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. Speaking during an Anaheim City Council meeting last night, Tait confirmed that "negotiations are ongoing." He said, "The good news is that we are continuing to move closer to bringing a professional basketball team to Anaheim. Because there are ongoing discussions and negotiations, I have just a few details to share tonight. More information will be forthcoming in the next week or so." Earlier in the meeting, the council "postponed discussion of bond funding for improvements at Honda Center, which many believe indicates the arena is being prepared for the Kings to move there next season." The council will take up that issue March 29. Tait affirmed last night that "no taxpayer money would be used to lure the Kings" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/23).
THE KINGS AND I: Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson in a blog entry posted last night wrote the Kings' possible relocation to Anaheim "feels like a slow death," adding this "will likely be the Kings' final weeks in Sacramento after 26 years." Johnson: "The strange part is, our true destiny as a professional sports town continues to rest with us -- not the Kings or Royals or whatever they want to call themselves. ... The slow death is almost over. It's painful. But a new beginning is right around the corner" (AP, 3/22). More Johnson: "The decision to move a business -- let’s not forget, the Kings are a business -- rests with the owners. We can talk and do our best to persuade, but in the end, the choice to relocate belongs to the people who own the team." He added, "First things first, we’ll fight to protect taxpayers and the city. That means making sure the Kings fully pay off their loan" (KEVINJOHNSON.com, 3/22).