Another Sign Points to Kings' Desire to Leave Sacramento
With a March 1 deadline to file for relocation looming large in Sacramento and the owners of the Kings continuing discussions with Anaheim Ducks officials regarding a possible move to Southern California, a source close to the situation said Monday that they have yet to deliver documents that were promised to the arena development team in California's Capital City.
It is, without question, yet another sign that the Maloofs (Gavin and Joe above) are strongly considering the possibility of playing elsewhere next season.
After the Sacramento City Council voted to work with developer David Taylor and arena builder ICON venue group on Feb. 8 in attempt to construct a viable arena plan, the Maloofs issued a statement two days later that they would "provide him with the studies, research and documents done during the course of the last 11 years on the feasibility of a new sports and entertainment facility." Yet the source told FanHouse that documents have yet to be provided, and all indications are that the Maloofs will only turn their attention back to Sacramento if they can't find a way to strike a deal in Anaheim.
Such a decision would be frowned upon by the Taylor/ICON group, as they have made it clear since being selected among four groups that they needed to avoid any and all delays in order to meet the 90-day deadline that was imposed for the project. Sacramento Mayor and former NBA player Kevin Johnson had made it clear he hoped the Maloofs would cooperate immediately as well.
"To what degree do the Maloofs want to participate?" he said during an interview on Sacramento radio station, KHTK, on Feb. 9 while outlining the key questions of the issue as he saw them. "Only they can answer that. I think we all have to be respectful. They've had some financial challenges but they've been very committed to Sacramento. So only they can answer that question.
"That's No. 1. No. 2 (is) I believe they have to make a decision saying that we want to be in Sacramento. And if they do not file (for relocation), that would be them saying we want to be in our community. Assuming those two things are 'yes' and 'yes' in a favorable way, the third question is, 'How do we finance it? How do we pay for a new entertainment and sports complex?' That is what the next 90 days is about."
Years of failed arena plans in Sacramento have left the Maloofs skeptical about whether this latest plan can come to fruition. What's more, it appears they are highly motivated to move into a larger market before a new collective bargaining agreement is in place.
The NBA's current CBA expires on June 30, and the owners are pushing for the sort of structure -- i.e. a hard salary cap at approximately $45 million -- that would put the Kings in prime position to improve their team via free agency quickly because of their league-low payroll. The Ducks officials have reportedly offered a $100 million loan that could make it feasible to make the move now, with approximately $70 million being used to pay the city of Sacramento back for the Arco Arena loan and the remaining $30 million expected to be used for relocation fees. A Kings official, however, said on Monday that the report was "not accurate."
Such a move would have to be approved by the league's Board of Governor's by a majority vote, but it is believed that the Maloofs have previously inquired with their fellow owners about such a possibility and are confident the move would be approved.
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