Four days before the Kings' deadline to ask the NBA for permission to leave Sacramento, Mayor Kevin Johnson "will plead the city's case to the league's team owners," according to Ryan Lillis of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Johnson Thursday said that he will address the NBA BOG in N.Y. on April 14. The Kings are "negotiating a move to Anaheim and have until April 18 to ask for permission to relocate." Johnson's "priority is to explain the importance of the Kings to Sacramento and promote efforts to build a new arena." Beyond "urging that the Kings stay" in Sacramento, Johnson "wants to convince the league that Sacramento should be first in line for a new NBA franchise." Johnson is "expected to discuss the city-sponsored development team analyzing an arena project and promote a grass-roots fan campaign that began this week" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/1). Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna: "I'm not going to say it's too late until the ink dries and the NBA tells them it's OK to move. I'm willing to explore anything that does not (outright) involve public money. I'm not an apologist for the Maloofs, but we can't wrap our arms around this rhetorical condemnation of the team. The smart play is for Sacramento to keep talking and trying to get something done" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/1).
ALL HANDS ON DECK: The SACRAMENTO BEE's Lillis reported the "grassroots campaign urging to keep the Kings in Sacramento broke the $200,000 pledge mark" Thursday morning. KHTK-AM host Carmichael Dave said that the "pledges are flowing in through Twitter and the 'Here We Build' Facebook page." He added that the "true focus of the effort is not to raise the $300 million or so needed for a new arena." Instead, "some ideas being tossed around include purchasing bricks with contributors' names on them for outside a new facility and shoring up ticket sales for next season -- if there is a next season" (SACBEE.com, 3/31).
DEBT TO SOCIETY: The city of Sacramento "has asked the Kings and the NBA for written promises that the team will repay a $77 million loan it owes the city before relocating to Anaheim." Assistant City Manager John Dangberg Wednesday wrote the Kings "have taken steps and made statements that indicate that it would be prudent and appropriate for the City to request that the Kings now put in writing the assurance" that the loan will be repaid. Kings co-Owner George Maloof said the Kings have "no intention of leaving (Sacramento) without paying our debt" (SACBEE.com, 3/30). Meanwhile, in Sacramento, Dale Kasler reports the Maloof family "showed Thursday it isn't broke," as Maloof Entertainment "became one of the investors in a $20 million fund to finance marketing and distribution of 3-D animated movies." The Maloofs also "unveiled plans for a skatepark in South Africa" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/1).