Reporting Steve Large
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Maloofs were both clearly emotional today as they announced a deal to build a new arena in Sacramento.
Going into the meeting today, there was a $35 million funding gap that made a deal seem unlikely. But then the Maloofs, who promised to kick in $50 millionagreed to pony up nearly $75 million in upfront cash.
The Maloofs also agreed to pay off a $67 million loan to the city.
AEG, the company that would manage and operate the arena, agreed to offer an additional $10 million today, and raised their offer to $60 million.
It may be a score for Sacramento, but at his first practice back from the all-star break, Kings head coach Keith Smar talked Xs and Os.
“What can we do on the floor?” said Smart.
Not dotting the Is and crossing the Ts of an arena deal, he claims no one gave him any inside scoop.
“I waited for the news, watched it on the news, it was all star weekend. I was busy with basketball with my sons,” said Smart.
I asked Kings veteran Donte Greene if the players were pumped and if it mattered where the arena was built.
“Maybe not location, but it would be nice to have a new arena, it’s getting pretty bad,” said Greene.
Rookie Isaiah Thomas grew up in Seattle. He knows what no arena can mean for a city.
“The only thing I knew, if they wasn’t gonna get an arena, we were going to leave. Cause that’s what happened with the Sonics,” said Thomas. “I experienced that being in high school.”
But this all-star break led to an arena breakthrough.
“Oh, I’m very happy. I do not want to lose the kings. I love you,” said Kings fan Jean Chavez.
“They give us public pride, they give us entertainment,” said Rick Woodbridge, a kings fan.
As for those other cities offering the Maloofs their kingdom?
“Anything you want to say to Anaheim or Seattle? Take a number, take a number, Sacramento say go king,” said Joe Hernandez, a Kings fan.