The Cowbell Tolls for Thee: NBA to Maloofs – “Stay in Sacramento”

Kings may just stay.

The saga of the Sacramento Kings has jumped all over the place since the Maloofs came up with the idea to relocate the team due to their bad financial decisions four years ago. In the beginning it seemed all but certain that the team was going to be moved out of Sacramento this summer. Las Vegas and Louisville were rumored destinations for the franchise but in the end Anaheim won out as the choice destination for the Kings. Anaheim had everything the Maloofs could hope for, an arena, a large television market with a potentially lucrative television deal, and a man, Henry Samueli, who was willing to help bailout the Maloofs financially in order to get the Kings relocated to the Honda Center. Things were looking great for the Maloofs…that is until the city of Sacramento got in the way.

Boy, how the Maloofs wanted to move! They could see the bright lights of Disney Land in the distance. But, “not so fast,” the NBA told them. David Stern granted them a second extension to file the necessary paperwork with the league to relocate the team but that was because the league wanted to send a fact-finding committee, headed by Clay Bennett, to both Sacramento and Anaheim to assess for themselves the feasibility of the franchise either relocating or staying in Sacramento.

Sacramento had raised money, lots of money ($410 million), from local businesses in the form of sponsorships and box  suite ticket sales for the 2011-12 season. Since the NBA is a business itself, it also likes money. Not only that, but Sacramento now has a viable plan to build a new arena. Stern likes shiny new arenas.

Due to Sacramento’s efforts to keep the Kings, spurred on by Mayor Kevin Johnson and the grassroots “Here We Stay” campaign, owners around the league, who would be the ones voting to approve the Maloofs request to relocate, are not so keen on seeing the team depart just yet. “…It appears unlikely at this point that team owners will come to a conclusion before Monday, the day set by NBA officials as the deadline for the team to request permission to relocate to Anaheim for next season,” the Sacramento Bee reports.

The article goes onto state that, “NBA executives in recent days have indicated they are interested in seeing the team stay in Sacramento at least one more year, which would give the city a last chance to finance an arena to replace aging Power Balance Pavilion.”

If the Maloofs do decide to move forward with the relocation vote from the NBA’s Board of Governors, which must take place by May 2, they will need at least half of the owners consent to move the team to Anaheim. At this point, however, it appears as if those votes may be hard to come by.

It looks as though Sacramento may be given a one year reprieve. Yet, they need to use that year wisely. The NBA wants to see progress on a feasible plan to build a new arena in the short-term future. That is what everything hinges on. If the city and voters cannot come to an agreement on the issue then everything that was fought for this year will be for naught. Sacramentans must understand that Anaheim will not stand pat for a year, they want the Kings too and will do what they can to improve their offer in an effort to entice the NBA and the Maloofs yet again.

Keeping the Kings in Sacramento next season will be easy, the battle seems won at this point. Where the real challenge lies is in building a new arena. Sacramento, you must be in it for the long haul, the war has yet to be won.

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