HOUSTON (CBS13) – Mayor Kevin Johnson continued to rally support from team owners Saturday as he used the NBA All-Star weekend to make his case for the Kings to stay in Sacramento.
“In terms of Sacramento, I’m feeling very focused, and confident. Our city has delivered time and time again,” he said.
Johnson spoke to a crowd of reporters deep inside the Houston Toyota Center about his whirlwind 36 hours of engaging NBA owners and executives. However, he wouldn’t say exactly who they were.
“I know who the key players are. I know who makes the decisions, and I’m doing everything I can to touch each of those folks along the way,” Johnson said.
He said the Sacramento equity partners he’s assembled will have an offer soon.
At his own press conference, NBA Commissioner David Stern said the future of the Kings is still uncertain.
“I expect that the owners have a very open mind on this, and it isn’t plausible, yet, to talk about until the predicates are fulfilled,” Stern said.
Stern also added that money would not be the deciding factor of whether the Kings stay or go.
“I don’t believe it’s going to come down to economics,” he said.
Four owners didn’t want to speak about the issue, even when swarmed by reporters.
NBA Relocation Committee Chair and Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett, who moved the Sonics from Seattle, would not say a word to CBS13 about the Sacramento-Seattle discussions.
High-ranking NBA officials, including owners and team executives, were seen emerging in and out of the swanky Four Seasons hotel in Houston during this NBA All-Star weekend. Not only is Stern staying at the hotel, but Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, Miami Heat President Pat Riley, and former Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo, are staying there as well. All are likely targets of Johnson on his all-star mission to keep the Kings in Sacramento.
“No owner wants to move a team from one city to another. That’s not the strength of the NBA. That’s not the stability of this market and association, and what it’s done,” said Johnson.
Ultimately, the possible move will be decided in New York when the NBA owners cast their votes.