The Sacramento Kings were given a deadline extension by the NBA on March 1 regarding a possible franchise move to a different city next season. It’s well known the Kings are considering a move to Anaheim, but now they’ll have until April 18 to make up their mind if they want to apply for a franchise move. They’ve been given an extra six weeks to decide since March 1 is usually the deadline.
Former NBA player Kevin Johnson just happens to be the mayor of Sacramento and he said the city will do everything it possibly can to keep the NBA team there. However, he realizes the club is already holding negotiations with people in Anaheim regarding a move there. He believes if those talks fall through though and they can’t come to some sort of agreement then the team will stay put.
Johnson said there’s not really a lot he can do at the moment because the club seems to have made up its mind about moving if the right deal can be struck. NBA Commissioner David Stern has publicly said the Kings are talking with Anaheim officials about relocating to their arena. The mains reason for this is because Sacramento hasn’t built a new venue and its owners realize a new one needs to be erected if the club is going to succeed there long into the future.
The fans in Sacramento are doing what they can to try and keep the club from leaving by posting billboards around the city and setting groups on social networks. It’s working to some degree as Arco Arena was sold out on Feb. 28 for the Kings’ 105-99 win against the visiting Los Angeles Clippers. Many fans decked themselves out in body paint and took home-made signs to the game to try and convince owners, George, Joe, and Gavin Maloof, to keep the team in Sacramento.
Johnson was also at the game and said he’s hoping to talk with Stern and the Maloofs this week. He said he’s already talked with Tom Tait, the mayor of Anaheim, and Tait was clear about his desire to have the franchise move to his city. Johnson told Tait he’s not going to wish him luck because he doesn’t want to see move take place.
Anaheim already has one pro team playing out of its Honda Center Arena: the Anaheim Ducks of the NHL play their home games there. The city was in the running to land the Clippers before they moved to the Staples Center in Los Angeles back in 1999. The Honda Center has 83 luxury suites in it while the Arco Arena has 30. In today’s game, luxury suites are seen as a must for a team to survive.
Johnson said he hopes the Kings don’t rush into a decision because Sacramento has designs on building a new arena even if the club moves to Anaheim.