The City of Sacramento fires a shot at the good folks of Anaheim.

The City of Sacramento has sent this letter to the City of Anaheim demanding that Anaheim back off … now.

Here is a summary of the letter:

The Sacramento Assistant City Manager is making a formal request to the Anaheim City Manager to: (a) stop negotiating with the Kings, including trying to entice them to Anaheim by approving a $75 million bond financing, and (b) at the very least, to condition any such bond financing on the Maloof’s/King’s repayment of their obligation on similar bonds issued by Sacramento.  Additionally, they reference an objection to Anaheim’s environmental impact review (CEQA – a standard report required for any such bond issuance).  However, the language seems to infer that Anaheim should cease all negotiations and bond measures based primarily on “public policy” – it would be damaging to the city of Sacramento and its population on countless levels … whether such argument is sufficiently strong to resonate and cause Anaheim to actually cease negotiations or the bond deal, or to take it a step further and seek an injunction to stop their bond measure, remains to be seen.

By dropping this letter to the City of Anaheim today, the day before Anaheim and their city Financing Authority go to a vote on the bond measure that would fund both the improvements needed for the Honda Center and a $50 million loan to the Maloofs, is either brilliant or a major shot in the dark.  Either way, it is highly unlikely that the NBA would allow the Maloofs to uproot the Kings without assurances that the City of Sacramento will be paid in full.  Countless NBA teams have bond measure agreements of some sort in place with their cities of residence – the idea being, the direct and indirect revenue streams a professional NBA team brings to a city more than make up for the city’s provision of upfront funds to build or improve a stadium to house the team.  For David Stern to allow one of his teams to renege on a pact with a local government would have a long term negative effect on other NBA owners’ ability to do business.

It has been my opinion for a while that the relocation of the Sacramento Kings will come down to the dollar amount needed to pay off the loan to the City of Sacramento, pay the NBA relocation fee, and pay to impede on the territorial infringement rights of both the Lakers and the Clippers.  We now know that the City of Sacramento is going to want $77 million before the Maloofs leave town, and from this letter, leaving behind a decrepit Arco Arena will not suffice.  The NBA has set the standard of $30 million for the relocation fee alone, so before we even begin to speculate on what the Lakers and the Clippers are going to ask for on April 14-15, the Maloofs are already looking at $107 million to relocate a franchise that Forbes estimated was worth $293 million.  That’s a whole lot of cash folks.

Kings’ play by play announcer Grant Napear had a conversation with the Maloofs this evening.  He will hold onto most of that conversation for his radio show tomorrow, but Napear did tweet this:

Just finished talking to Maloofs. I will relay conversation tomorrow at 4pm. Needless to say they are extremely upset at today’s city letter.
Maloofs told me cities letter was below the belt. Full story tomorrow at 4pm ok KHTK
It sounds like things are about to get extremely contentious between these two groups who may ultimately be stuck together if things don’t go the Maloofs’ way.

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About: James Ham

James Ham provides coverage through news analysis and in-depth interviews with Kings players and staff. James is also one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary "Small Market, Big Heart". James graduated UC Davis with a degree in history and is happily married with two children.