NEW YORK (CBS13) – A day after a surprise announcement from Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson gave Sacramento hope the city could keep the NBA in the city, NBA Commissioner David Stern will talk about the city’s chances.
Stern will hold a press conference from New York where the NBA Board of Governors is meeting and the future of the Sacramento Kings is being debated.
Yesterday, both the Kings owners and a Sacramento contingent addressed the board regarding the Kings possible move to Anaheim.
The big talk of the day was the surprise announcement by Sacramento Mayor that Sacramento had a plan to save the Kings or possibly bring another NBA team to the Capital City. The plan centers around southern California billionaire Ron Burkle, who already owns the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The mayor told reporters that Burkle would want to be a majority owner. Without getting into details, Mayor Johnson also indicated that a local minority ownership group had been assembled.
Following the meeting, Burkle Group Partner Darius Anderson made the following statement:
“The Maloofs have been strong owners and a positive part of the Sacramento community for years, but it is important that Kings fans and residents of the Sacramento region know that the Burkle Group is ready to commit the resources and expertise necessary to keep the NBA in Sacramento. Our group believes Sacramento is an important NBA market that can thrive with new ideas, new resources and an absolute commitment to delivering the best on and off-court experiences for fans.”
WHO IS BURKLE?
The Maloofs are using the Board of Governors Meeting to gauge the support of the other owners in the league; they would need 15 owners to vote in favor of moving to Anaheim. A relocation request has never been denied before.
If Burkle is going to bring a franchise to Sacramento, the most likely option is the New Orleans Hornets.
The team is currently owned by the NBA.
Now the league is looking for a permanent owner but hopes to find one that would keep them in New Orleans.The Hornets reached an attendance mark this year that keeps them locked in through at least next season.
Now if the league finds a different owner for the Hornets, there are a couple of other teams rumored to be looking to move, potentially to Sacramento. They include the Memphis Grizzlies, the Atlanta Hawks, and the Indiana Pacers.
Commissioner Stern was apparently quite surprised when Kevin Johnson told him he had a buyer for the Kings or another NBA team.
A couple weeks ago, Johnson told Stern he had a possible buyer and the commissioner made a crack about it being a local car dealer.
When Johnson said it was billionaire Ron Burkle, a source says Stern went quiet and said “You’ve got Burkle?”
KHTK Rise Guy Mark Kreidler say’s he cautiously optimistic because Burkle’s a big name with big backing.
Long-time Kings announcer Grant Napear weighed in on the 11th hour revelation.
Napear says he’s happy to hear a save may be in the works, but reiterated that the Maloofs are not interested in selling the Kings.
But, he thinks fans would really welcome another NBA team to Sacramento.
Napear also pointed out Sacramento’s going to have some stiff competition to bring in another team.
Other cities, with a bigger corporate base, places like San Jose and Seattle, are also looking for an NBA franchise.