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The Kings are the hottest commodity in the NBA, and right now Sacramento looks like they are in the lead for keeping their only Major League team. According to a report, Kevin Johnson’s lobbying with the commissioner and the other owners in the NBA is working.
In fact, the Maloofs have only made Johnson’s job easy. They have operated the Kings in such a way as to run the franchise into the ground, drive away the fans, and make it so that getting a publicly funded arena impossible. Fortunately for Sacramento (and unfortunately for Sonics fans), the City of Sacramento called the Maloofs bluff in 2011. The Maloofs, NBA, and Sacramento had negotiated an arena plan that had the NBA’s stamp of approval. A few months later the Maloofs backed out of that deal.
The Maloofs also refused to sell the team to billionaire Ronald Burkle, saying that the team isn’t going to be for sale.
A year later, they agree to a deal in principal with Chris Hansen to sell the team and return basketball to Seattle. Hansen paid (it has been paid despite what the report says) the Maloofs $30 million to not negotiate with anyone else (like they needed any reason to do that). The Maloof brothers filed for relocation for Hansen, putting everything on the table for the April meeting of the Board of Governors.
Now this report isn’t entirely accurate, it claims that the $30 million deposit was not paid. That being said, Joe Maloof has come out and said that it’s been paid, and they did file for the relocation. Also, more sources have come out saying that Hansen has indeed paid the non-refundable deposit. Basically, take everything you see with a grain of salt.
Now onto the meet of the story, and that is that Sacramento is in the lead for keeping their only Major League team. This is the part of the story that is hard to prove and/or disprove until the Board of Governors meeting in April.
As I said above, the City of Sacramento has done everything asked of it by the NBA and the Maloofs. There is only one reason that their shouldn’t be construction cranes up over the Rail Yards in Sacramento, and that reason is the Maloofs. This would be the first time that a City has lost a team after agreeing to fund an arena with a public subsidy. That is not exactly what the NBA wants to happen as their owners have made billions off of public subsidies.