Sacramento Mayor Fighting To Keep Kings As Maloofs Push For Move
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) –The battle for the Kings moves from California to New York where the NBA Board of Governors is meeting today and according to one of the Kings owners…a move is still up in the air.
After years of political bickering and failed ballot measures to build a new arena, Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof may be seeking to move the team to Anaheim. Now it seems the only thing stopping them from moving the franchise is a block by NBA owners.
The Maloofs are in New York making their pitch at the NBA Board of Governors meeting today.
CBS13’s Steve Large is in New York and spoke with George Maloof outside the St. Regis Hotel where the meeting will take place. George says the brothers are still unsure about filing for relocation. He says the brothers are looking for direction from league owners and will they will present a case for staying and leaving Sacramento. He says he doesn’t know what owners would support at this hour.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson — a former NBA All-Star — will make his case to keep the team in the Capital City. Johnson will have 20 minutes to persuade the governors why the Kings should stay.
He brings with some very interesting facts. For instance, the Kings have had the highest sell out percentage in the past 25 years at 76 percent.
“One, I want to build a case that Sacramento is a viable market, a viable NBA market. Number two, I want to show that we have a corporate base in this market to support an NBA team,” said Johnson. “Lastly, I want to tell the owners we are going to go forward with a new entertainment sports complex over the next couple years.”
Anaheim officials also will be in New York.
The Maloofs have until Monday to officially file for permission to relocate, and a vote would likely come within weeks of that request.
Today’s meeting come after what may have been the Kings last game in Sacramento. They lost to the Lakers 116-108 in overtime.
“We’re proud of the way we represented this city and this area,” said Kings coach Paul Westphal, who got choked up in his postgame news conference. “We don’t know if we’ll continue doing that or playing somewhere else. We really felt it tonight. We know that through the ups and downs, these fans supported us. We think we’re ending one of those down times.
“I’m sorry to see the season end.”
Photo Gallery: Final Kings game of ’10-’11 season.
A standing-room only crowd packed things beyond the 17,317-seat capacity, clanking cow bells and roaring louder than they had in years. They brought handmade signs, painted their faces and cheered their loudest to will their beloved team back.