HoopsHype Anaheim rumors

April 30, 2011 Updates

Yet, I had the tape recording of Jackson's press conference in which he was asked what he thought about the Dodgers-Frank McCourt situation. Major League Baseball took control of the Dodgers last week. Jackson said: "Oh, man. I think it's the same thing with the Maloofs in Sacramento, a similar situation there. I can see where the league had to step in and monitor that. It's unfortunate for our fans here. Hopefully, the Dodgers will recover." With Lakers owner Jerry Buss opposed to the move, Jackson has been seen as something of a public spokesman, siding with Sacramento's efforts to keep the Kings. "We're reaching out to the Lakers," Mackaness said, adding that Jackson is seen as an influential person in the NBA and could sway the public perception. Orange County Register

The Maloof family remains undecided as the May 2 NBA deadline looms closer for the owners of the Sacramento Kings to file for relocation, a source tells News10. According to the source, it is unlikely that the Maloofs will make a decision before Monday whether or not to move the franchise to Anaheim. The NBA's relocation deadline is set for 2 p.m. on Monday. news10.net

On the contrary, the Maloofs' depressed finances have raised concerns about their long-term viability as NBA owners – regardless of location. The league has tilted toward keeping the team in Sacramento for at least another year. The Maloofs have until Monday to decide whether to file for permission to relocate. The Maloofs say operating from antiquated Power Balance Pavilion costs them millions of dollars a year, making it difficult to field a competitive team. But their financial issues go deeper than that and include their struggles to hold on to their Las Vegas casino. Already deeply in debt, the Maloofs would borrow up to $75 million from their new landlord in Anaheim. The family's financial issues have opened the door for billionaire Ron Burkle, the potential Kings owner-in-waiting who's become a rallying point in Sacramento's drive to keep the team. "Ultimately, the league is looking at this as something where a new owner would come in," said a Burkle associate who insisted on anonymity. Sacramento Bee

What happens next is uncertain. While Anaheim has sweetened its financial offer to the Maloofs, top league officials advised the family this week not to seek relocation, according to a source close to the family. This source said the Maloofs told the NBA they're concerned their finances couldn't survive several more years in Sacramento, waiting for the new arena that everyone agrees is needed. That's where Burkle could come in. Although the Maloofs have loudly and repeatedly rejected the supermarket tycoon's overtures, they might get backed into a corner because of their financial difficulties. "Maybe you don't want to sell, but you have to sell," Greif said. Sacramento Bee

Despite recent reports, no one in Maloof family has spoken to billionaire businessman Ron Burkle in the past two months, according the source. Burkle has expressed his interest in purchasing the Kings from the Maloof family, who have reiterated that they have no desire to sell the team. Media outlets reported that the Maloof family spoke to Burkle on Thursday, however that was refuted by the source. The source said the Maloof's upcoming decision will be in the best interest for the future of the franchise; however, if the Maloofs decide to stay in Sacramento, it will be because of the fans' loyalty. news10.net

Friday afternoon, Johnson described himself and other officials as "hopeful" and "cautiously optimistic" the team will remain here. The Kings' owners, the Maloofs, are facing more of a fight in their effort to relocate the team than expected, he added in a press conference after a meeting with regional elected officials. "I think it's pretty clear that they're in a situation where it's not as easy to go to Anaheim as maybe they thought it would be before, and that Sacramento has put forth an attractive alternative or counter-proposal," Johnson said after the meeting at Sacramento Area Council of Governments headquarters. "Money can't buy you the love that I think our community has shown this franchise over the last 26 years." Sacramento Press

April 29, 2011 Updates

The owners of the Sacramento Kings sent a representative to Brea on Friday morning in an attempt to gather proof of what they perceived to be negative comments by Lakers coach Phil Jackson about their proposed move to Anaheim. Jessica Mackaness, an attorney representing Joe and Gavin Maloof, showed up at my house to try to persuade me to give her a tape of Jackson making a comment about the Kings' efforts to relocate. Mackaness said the Kings' owners planned to turn over the tape to the NBA and the Lakers in an effort to stop Jackson from making further comments. However, the Register declined to turn over the tape. As a matter of policy, the Register does not release unpublished material gathered in the reporting of stories. Orange County Register

In a last-minute move to land the Kings, Anaheim billionaire Henry Samueli today offered to increase his personal loan to the team from $50 million to as much as $70 million, and has offered to buy a minority stake in the team. Samueli, owner of the Anaheim Ducks, also has agreed to far more costly improvements to Anaheim's Honda Center to bring that facility up to NBA standards. Originally, Honda Center officials had planned to spend $25 million on upgrades. That figure has jumped to $70 million, center officials said Thursday afternoon. Sacramento Bee

Kings co-owner Joe Maloof declined to comment when reached Thursday evening. The move by Samueli represents a dramatic counter to recent efforts by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who earlier this week announced $10 million in new corporate sponsorships, should the Kings stay in Sacramento. Those Sacramento pledges and other local efforts appeared to have swayed NBA officials in the last few weeks into agreeing to support keeping the Kings in Sacramento, at least for another year. NBA officials declined to comment Thursday evening on Samueli's move to sweeten the pot in Anaheim. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson continued to express confidence that the capital city has proved it has what it takes to support NBA basketball. Still, he has issued several public cautions that the outcome of the Kings saga is still not known. "Anaheim may be trying to sweeten the pot, but nothing beats home cooking," Johnson said Thursday. Sacramento Bee

April 28, 2011 Updates

The future of the Sacramento Kings should be known within the next 48 hours. News10 has confirmed team owners Joe and Gavin Maloof were on a conference call with the NBA's relocation committee Wednesday morning. It is believed the committee made their recommendation to the Maloofs whether or not to proceed with their intent to file for relocation to Anaheim. news10.net

When NBA folks came to town last week, people and buildings were awash in Kings colors, a sign of loyalty, and in some cases a plea for help. Meanwhile, in Anaheim, can you hear it? The collective yawn? Folks in Orange County are bored with all of this. Or, rather, never collectively got on board with the idea of the Kings becoming Royals and becoming part of their culture. The idea of the Kings moving to Anaheim never generated talk-radio discussion, never generated letters to the editor of support to the local papers. Sacramento Bee

There is proof of apathy is in the numbers, too. Weeks after Anaheim officials created a waiting list for prospective season tickets to the Honda Center, an avalanche of 1,700 signed up. No typo here - 1,700. Charlie Sheen goes through that many "Goddesses" each year. To put the 1,700 number in better perspective, consider the reaction by Sacramento when it was announced in that the Kings were indeed headed out of Kansas City and to Sacramento for the 1985-86 season. More than 25,000 people immediately jammed up the waiting list for tickets, and Sacramento and the outlining region wasn't nearly as populated then as it is now. Sacramento Bee

While the Maloofs remain skeptical of Johnson's ability to ultimately get a new arena built in Sacramento, the Mayor is getting no such pushback from the man who came on this scene so dramatically two weeks ago. The Los Angeles-based businessman and owner of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins made clear his desire to buy the Kings then, issuing a press release saying he hoped to buy the team from the Maloofs and keep it in California's capitol. And according to two sources in the business meeting Tuesday, Johnson indicated that he met with Burkle in Los Angeles on Monday. The meeting was confirmed by a third source close to the situation, giving a clear indication that the league's dismissive public comments regarding his involvement should hardly set the tone of the conversation as it pertains to him. SI.com

April 27, 2011 Updates

Sacramento officials took their last shot at keeping the Kings on Tuesday, unveiling a group of corporations that agreed to put down deposits on $10 million worth of sponsorships and ticket sales next season. "The NBA has said to Sacramento, 'Show me the money,' " a beaming Mayor Kevin Johnson said, flanked by 30 business leaders outside Golden 1 Credit Union offices. "And today, we're doing just that." Sacramento Bee

Now the team's fate lies mostly in the hands of the NBA and its relocation committee, which is investigating whether Sacramento is a more viable market than Anaheim. The league's top brass have made it clear they are interested in keeping the team here at least one more year. The Maloofs, who own the Kings, may still seek a move, regardless of what league officials tell them to do. A source close to the team said the Maloofs have concerns about long-term corporate support in Sacramento and the region's ability to finance a new arena. Sacramento Bee

April 26, 2011 Updates

This week, the NBA has sent seven officials from the league's basketball operations group to further investigate Sacramento's corporate commitments. Those officials were on hand this morning as the business representatives signed their deposits. Johnson said he didn't know the total amount of the deposits but said the NBA has told him "you guys have done everything you need to do up until this point, we just need the deposits." "We put the call out to the business community and they answered," said Matt Mahood, president and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, one of the key figures in securing the additional sponsorships. "Literally three weeks ago, many of us were thinking that there was not a chance in hell that we were going to keep the Sacramento Kings here in Sacramento, they were going to move to Anaheim," Mahood said. "But there was just this little crack, this little opening." Orange County Register

Sacramento is showing the NBA the money. Mayor Kevin Johnson has taken another step in his bid to keep the Kings in town. He and about 30 representatives from Sacramento-area businesses met with NBA officials Tuesday, signing smaller deposits on more than $10 million in sponsorship pledges for the Kings as a "down payment." Johnson had promised league owners additional revenue for the Kings from area businesses to give the city more time to finance a plan for a new arena. The league sent officials to verify those claims, and the mayor says Sacramento "showed them the money." AP

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