SACRAMENTO, CA, April 22, 2011 — “We await the results of the fact-finding visit that the NBA made to Sacramento the past two days. We have not made a decision with regards to relocation filing, and will not make that decision until we have more information from the NBA.”
Clay Bennett, owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and NBA executive Harvey Sherman spent the better part of the last two days meeting with Sacramento officials to further investigate the claims that Mayor Kevin Johnson had made during last week’s NBA Board of Governors meetings in New York. Besides giving an update on the feasibility study for a new sports and entertainment facility, Mayor Johnson announced that he had commitments of over $7 million worth of new corporate sponsorships waiting back in Sacramento. By the time the NBA left town today, that number had topped $10 million and was still climbing.
The Maloof family has been in negotiations with Henry Samueli and the City of Anaheim since at least February to move the Kings down to the Honda Center. It is unclear if the Maloofs will still attempt to file for relocation before the May 2nd deadline. The family wasn’t sure if they had the necessary simple majority vote last week and that was before Mayor Johnson blew away the BOG.
Mayor Kevin Johnson has added his two cents via twitter as well, confirming that he has not been given any assurances from the league:
KJ_MayorJohnson: Great week Sac! Reports & rumors are swirling around but this is not a done deal. When a decision is made I will be the first to to tell u.
Kevin Johnson was extremely upbeat and confident when I ran into him last night in Downtown Sacramento. In the span of a week, he has gone from near political pariah to savior of a city. If KJ can not only save the Kings for this season, but get a new Sports and Entertainment facility built in time to keep this team here long term, he will become a politician who played basketball, not a basketball player who played politician. Kudos for getting this far KJ, now let’s see if you can finish it.