WATCH: No whales announced yet as Kevin Johnson updates Sacramento’s bid to keep Kings

Update: 1:20 PM

No whale sightings at Tuesday’s press conference at Sacramento City Hall. ¬†Instead, mayor Kevin Johnson provided a brief update on the city’s effort to keep the Kings. ¬†Below are some of the highlights.

  • The mayor had originally intended to announce the major equity investors sometime last week. ¬†Though there’s been a delay, Johnson claims that it’s not a cause for concern. ¬†“You have a commitment by the city that that we want to be smart and do our due diligence,” Johnson said. ¬†“The whales and equity investors – they’re doing their due diligence. ¬†They have a deal they have to put together. ¬†They have to look at the economics of an arena. ¬†They have to look at the economics of buying a team. ¬†All those things just take time and I will tell you that everybody’s working around the clock.” ¬†He now hopes to announce them some time this week or next.
  • Johnson says there are experts exploring the minority owners’ right of first refusal. ¬†But at this point, the mayor says the city remains firmly focused on its effort to present a competitive counteroffer to the NBA. ¬†“From our vantage point, I can’t tell you whether somebody has the right of first refusal or not,” Johnson said. “But I will tell you that the trustee in this (bankruptcy) case believes they have a very good case for right of first refusal. That’ll have to play out how ever that has to play out. It’s not impacting on what we’re doing here as a city. We’re trying to put a competitive offer forward that puts us in the game and gives us an opportunity to keep our team here in Sacramento.”
  • With that said, is the mayor confident the NBA will give Sacramento a fair shake when they present their offer? ¬†“I think the commissioner’s made a statement from day one that we were going to get a chance in Sacramento to present our case at the Board of Governors’ meeting in April,” said Johnson. “I don’t think that’s been a surprise. ¬†I think everybody knew that we’d get an opportunity to do that. ¬†We went there two years ago and we laid out a compelling case and we’ll get a chance to do it again. ¬†And as I said earlier, our objective is to submit a fair and competitive offer as soon as possible and be in a position to explain to the NBA why Sacramento should remain an NBA city come mid-April.”
  • Johnson continued to reiterate the the city is working on a timeline that coincides with the NBA’s relocation deadline. ¬†However, he would ideally like to have Sacramento’s proposal set in stone and submitted to the league a few weeks in advance of that March 1st date. ¬†“What I would ideally like to have is something submitted this week, next week, the following week,” said Johnson. ¬†“Because what that will allow is two weeks time for the NBA, the Maloofs and everybody to really look at what our offer is. ¬†I think that would be important to March 1st. ¬†Again worst case, we have that March 1st deadline because ultimately this is something that is going to have to play out in mid-April, so that’s April 18th and 19th.”
  • The mayor acknowledged that railyards and downtown plaza are both being looked at as possible sites for a new downtown arena. ¬†“I think from our standpoint as a city, we’re very familiar with the railyards site,” Johnson said. ¬† “It’s something we studied, we had a deal in place. ¬†In terms of downtown plaza, we’re just trying to get smart on it. ¬†We don’t know what’s being proposed. ¬†In fact, we don’t know if the equity investors are going to choose downtown plaza or the railyards site. ¬†So really, we’re in a position where we’re doing our due diligence and trying to get smart on both of them. ¬†I don’t know a whole lot more than that at this point in time. ¬†We’re just starting to engage.” Sports business consultant Dan Barrett, who worked on Sacramento’s last arena deal, has also been back brought into the fold by city staff.



About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.