Arena: David Stern and Kevin Johnson continue communication in wake of deal collapse

The head shake is still there. The disbelief has yet to fade. Weeks have passed since the arena deal fell apart and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson still has a hard time comprehending how the whole thing collapsed.

“This is still just mind boggling.”

Johnson and Sacramento Kings fans are not alone. In a one-on-one interview with the former NBA star, it appears the league’s commissioner is just as befuddled.

“As ticked off as the community and I are, David Stern is not one to take lightly what happened,” Johnson added from the mayor’s private conference room on the fifth floor of city hall. “(Stern) is very disappointed and disheartened.”

The two speak almost weekly regarding the latest arena developments. Johnson said he gives Stern developments on building a new complex, but admits that the Maloofs “hold all the cards.”

The Kings owners have mostly kept quiet about their intentions moving forward since balking over the $391 million project in which they would’ve contributed a $73 million portion. George, Joe and Gavin have maintained they do not want to sell the team and privately, they even turned down offers that came in higher than the franchise’s worth, which according to Forbes Magazine stands close to $300 million.

“I have brought a buyer to them, and would like to keep bringing another one to them until they eventually say ‘yes’,” Johnson said.

The Sacramento native has maintained the city is working to get a new building without the Kings owners, but constructing a new downtown arena will be nearly impossible minus the NBA.

Until there is an ownership change, Stern and Johnson will be left to head shaking and weekly chats of what could have been.


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