Report: Sacramento must meet NBA “benchmarks” in effort to build new Kings arena
There is still work to be done in Sacramento. The city still has an arena to build at the Downtown Plaza and according to David Stern, the league has set a firm deadline for Sacramento to meet or else.
If deadlines are blown, Stern told The Sacramento Bee, the NBA has the option of pulling the Kings out of Sacramento and arranging for the team’s sale to new owners.
The Ranadive group agreed to the deadlines in writing, Stern said.
Stern said he doesn’t expect Sacramento to miss its deadlines, but league owners insisted on the doomsday option “in the unlikely event” Sacramento can’t get the arena project rolling in a “reasonable” amount of time.
The NBA is insisting that the building at Downtown Plaza open no later than 2017 – one year later than city officials forecast. The rival investors who tried unsuccessfully to move the team to Seattle agreed to similar deadlines, Stern said.
The new Kings owners – the eighth in the franchise’s history – expressed certainty that they can build the arena by the deadline. Ranadive spokesman Adam Mendelsohn said the team is “absolutely confident about the timeline with the NBA and the commitments that have been made” to construct a new arena.
Vivek Ranadivé and company officially took control of the Kings yesterday after the sale of the franchise closed escrow. They are tasked with two major rebuilds, one on-the-court and the other off it. The reboot of the product on the floor is already under way with new coach Mike Malone expected to be introduced soon following the dismissal of Keith Smart Friday evening. There’s also a matter of finding a new general manager to take over the Kings’ basketball operations. Long-time president Geoff Petrie is expected to depart the Kings after 19 seasons at the helm.
Then there remains the business of a new arena. The Ranadivé group and capital city have agreed to build a $450-million new entertainment and sports center in the heart of Downtown Sacramento. The city is prepared to kick in $258 million to the project by leasing its downtown parking assets. The investor group is ready to fund the rest, an estimated $189 million and has agreed to kick in for all predevelopment costs and cost overruns.
The city and Ranadivé group believe that a new building for the Kings can be completed by the start of the 2016-17 NBA season. They are looking at several relatively new arenas in other NBA cities as models. Just last week, Mayor Kevin Johnson along with members of the Kings new ownership were in Indianapolis to tour Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
If the manner by which Johnson put together his plan to keep the Kings is any indication, chances are slim that fans will have to go through another ordeal like the drama they just experienced ever again.