[UPDATED with Blowback for Reg Writer:] NBA, Anaheim and Maloofs Not in Lineup for Mayor Kevin Johnson's Plans to Keep Kings in Sacramento
UPDATE, SEPT. 12, 1:48 P.M.: Sactown Royalty, a fan site that kicked into high gear when the Kings were dribbling out the notion of moving from Sacramento to Anaheim last season, obviously doesn't share Orange County Register sports columnist Randy Youngman's biting take on Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson's plan to keep the franchise in Cow Town.
In "Orange County, Yellow Journalism," Tom Ziller fumes: "If Youngman gets some extra traffic but it comes at the price of a Google search result for his name reading something like Randy Youngman is quite ridiculous, transparent and intellectually vacant, then I'll consider it a fair trade. Trolls gotta eat too, y'all." [Bold emphasis is Ziller's.]
ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 12, 12:09 P.M.: While the city of Anaheim remains committed to bringing pro basketball to the Honda Center, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson unveiled a plan last week aimed at ensuring that franchise is not the NBA's Kings.
And the Kings, which could still move to Anaheim or somewhere else after the end of next season (if there even is a next season), warmly received Johnson's proposal, expressing ownership's hopes that it will keep the team in Cow Town.
Randy Youngman of the Orange County Register found it telling, however, that neither representatives of the NBA nor the Maloof brothers, who own the Kings, attended Johnson's unveiling of his so-called "Nexus Report" at the Sacramento Press Club Thursday. "[M]aybe the Maloofs and the NBA suits were notable no-shows because they had already seen the report and there wasn't much of substance on which to comment," Youngman surmised.
Johnson presented various financing options for a $350 million to $400 million sports and entertainment complex in an area downtown known as the Railyards, which has been the subject of many redevelopment proposal and crack-pot ideas over the years. The Sacramento City Council is scheduled to get a look at the Nexus Report on Tuesday.
Despite Youngman's pessimism, the Kings released a statement last week calling the Nexus Report "a very positive step toward the goal of a new entertainment and sports complex that will bring substantial economic benefits to the entire region and we hope will enable the team to continue playing in Sacramento. We were pleased with the report's conclusion that funding for the project can be achieved using various revenue sources, none of which involve any broad-based tax."
That's because the Kings had been behind attempts Sacramento voters have shot down in recent years to tax themselves to build a new arena. And the Maloofs had been behind those broad-base tax plans because they consider Power Balance Pavilion, the former Arco Arena in Natomas where the Kings now play, as outdated.
The lack of movement on a new arena is what led the Maloofs to negotiate a move late last season with the city of Anaheim, which owns the Honda Center that is managed by Anaheim Arena Management, which is owned by Henry Samueli, the billionaire who co-founded Broadcom, owns the NHL's Anaheim Ducks and has expressed his desire to own or co-own an NBA team.
Amid the Anaheim talks, which at one point appeared to be a slam-dunk even to former stellar NBA point guard Johnson, Sacramento's first-term mayor convinced fans, community leaders and local business titans to join him in committing to keep the Kings in Sacramento (or, failing that, wooing another team with a new arena). "KJ" also lobbied NBA Commissioner David Stern, who expressed his wish that the team remain where it is, although even he, too, sounded as if a Kings move to Anaheim was a lock.
However, looking at an impending season that may not even happen, the Maloofs declined to file paperwork in May informing the NBA that the franchise was indeed moving. Sacramento essentially won a one-year reprieve from possibly losing the team, while the Maloofs gained more time to negotiate with all interested parties.
Now the ball moves back into Johnson's court. He has until March of next year to present the NBA and the Maloofs a definitive plan on financing.
For its part, Samueli's company is not commenting on what's going on in Sacramento, other than re-stating a desire to get some NBA to play in the Honda Center.
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