KJ says Sacramento is now Kings’ second choice

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson met with Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof for 40 minutes yesterday, and came out saying that he was told his city is now only Plan B, with Plan A being Anaheim. Among the key quotes from Johnson’s news conference:

“It’s a business decision and the economics of Anaheim are better than the economics for them at this state here in Sacramento. They are fully exploring their options, which appears to be Anaheim.”

“I do not think Sacramento can influence the outcome of their decision. I’m OK with that. I think we’re all OK with that. It’s a decision they’re going to have to make.”

“They love Sacramento, they’ve been committed to Sacramento and they want everyone to know that. Their issue was not that they don’t like Sacramento. They think we have the best fans.”

“If the dust settles, and Anaheim is not where they end up, they would 100 percent be willing to sit down with the ICON/Taylor group moving forward.”

(Watch clips from the press conference here.)

There’s no reason to doubt KJ — he has no reason to try to downplay Sacramento’s chances at keeping the Kings, and neither do the Maloofs if they want to keep ICON/Taylor’s nose to the grindstone in coming up with an arena plan.

Still, this really only tells us what we already know: The Maloofs are going to spent the next six weeks trying to hammer out a deal with Anaheim (and the NBA), then sit back and see if what they’re offered is better than what they have now. And that will depend on three factors — how rich a TV contract they can get, how much they have to pay in relocation fees to buy off the Lakers and Clippers, and what kind of lease they can agree to with Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli — that we as outsiders can’t know right now, and that even the Maloofs likely aren’t going to know until we get closer to the NBA owners’ meetings in mid-April.

Right now it looks like there are two likely options: The Kings announce a move after the owners’ meetings, or they announce they’re kicking everything back a year to give everyone a chance to sweeten their bids. Too bad for the Maloofs that we won’t know until July 1 whether there’s going to be an NBA lockout — that’d be a nice excuse to punt if that’s what they decide they want to do.

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16 comments on “KJ says Sacramento is now Kings’ second choice

  1. This move has been pretty apparent for the last few months now… and it does make sense financially for the Maloofs in the end since there is more money for them in OC with it’s access to not only a slice of the LA market, but also the Inland Empire and San Diego as well. But from a league standpoint I can’t say I’m enthusiastic by cutting out another smaller market to just put another team in the league’s second biggest market.

    But in other news this is good practice for the LA area in stealing teams, they’re going to be doing it a few more times the next decade. Particularly now that Jerry Brown’s budget appears poised to be passed (the budget essentially killing redevelopment in California). Once that is done several proposed stadiums in Oakland, San Diego and Escondido all die opening the door for LA to steal the Chargers away from San Diego.

  2. I like how “killing redevelopment” is the new term for eliminating local slush funds used to pay back favored political patrons.

    To me all that’s happening here is that an underserved market (L.A.) is seeing its supply catch up a bit to demand. If the NHL were half as smart as the NBA they’d get at least one more team to Toronto (and eliminate the shootout, and go back to the old points system, and get rid of sudden death in the playoffs, and go back to a more balanced schedule…)

  3. I like how “killing redevelopment” is the new term for eliminating local slush funds used to pay back favored political patrons.

    To me all that’s happening here is that an underserved market (L.A.) is seeing its supply catch up a bit to demand. If the NHL were half as smart as the NBA they’d get at least one more team to Toronto (and eliminate the shootout, and go back to the old points system, and get rid of sudden death in the playoffs, and go back to a more balanced schedule…)

  4. Call it what you will, but in both cities in CA I’ve lived in during the last 20 years (San Jose and San Diego) redevelopment has turned what were blighted and indeed dangerous areas into vibrant parts of the community where people go, spend time, spend money and overall enjoy themselves. None of it would have been possible with what you’re calling a slush fund. If that’s the result of a little corruption in you view, so be it. I’ll take it.

  5. There is absolutely no way they kick the can on this. Not a chance.

    Look at it this way: Would you buy season tickets for next year if they did? I know I wouldn’t.

    The deal with Anaheim is already done. The Maloofs are simply trying to avoid the “Empty Arena Syndrome” for their last 12 games here. Had they announced on March 1, even ticket holders wouldn’t have gone to the games. Think of the lost parking revenue, food and beverages, swag, etc.

    I just can’t imagine a scenario where they’d now change course. I can’t see it.

    You’re forgetting the Palms problems, with the covenant breaches and so forth. I believe Samueli, who is a billionaire, has decided that if the Maloofs move the Kings to Anaheim, he will act as a financial backstop to keep Harrah’s from taking over the Palms. Of course, the price for that would be majority ownership in the Kings, but this at least gives the Maloofs a chance to hold on to a large part of their empire.

    This deal could not be more doner, Neil.

  6. I am starting to think Neil is right here. I think the conflict of the Maloofs being unwilling to sell and Samueli wanting his own team for his arena may kill it, at least for this year. I’ve been certain since the pre-season arena deal was killed last fall that the Kings would announce by 3/1. Now I wonder.

    @Dan I just hate it when the government gets to pick winners. I see those areas as places that would’ve been developed anyway, and where politicians got to choose which of their buddies won the subsidy lottery.

  7. Then we’ll just have to disagree since the idea that they would have been developed otherwise seems laughable from my POV.

    As for the Kings, it’s now Anaheim’s team to lose.

  8. @Dan- completely agree with you on rda- typical moonbeam fashion he is going after something that creates jobs and will have an insignificant impact on the ca budget because he doesnt want to address the real issue which is pension/benefit reform for the unions-

  9. The nonpartisan California Legislative Analyst Office has shown that the effect of redevelopment funds on job creation is minimal. And if California’s new budget legislates these things right out of existence- I wonder what the effect will be on San Jose’s efforts to get the A’s, the 49ers relocation to Santa Clara, and the two football stadium proposals in Los Angeles.

  10. Neil, even if I gave you odds on that, neither of us could ever actually prove my point.

    I think the deal is done. What’s more, I think it’s going to succeed.

    But even if what I’m saying is true, that doesn’t make me “correct.” We’ll never really know the day or the hour the deal was reached. If I said it was a year ago, or if I said it was next Thursday, I just can’t prove it.

    You have my email address, though. On April 18, or thereabouts, the Kings will say they’re moving. That’s as definite as I’m willing to get.


  11. Well the A’s in San Jose probably wouldn’t be likely to be impacted for two reasons. One, most of the “money” for the stadium land is already that, land. Land that is owned by the city now, not liquid. Second San Jose has already moved to create a Joint Powers Authority separate from their RDA which is now handling the stadium. So even if the RDA goes away, the JPA remains.

    LA’s downtown stadium is potentially impacted, but with 900 million in private financing already before any NFL or owner contributions, it seem like it would have a good shot at going forward RDA or not.

    Can’t speak to the Industry stadium because I’m not actually clear on what their funding mechanism is beyond what’s already been locked up in contracts between Industry and Roski

    As for the Niners stadium, unless I’m mistaken they’d be out 100 million and potentially more since the NFL does require a certain level of city contribution for NFL funds.

  12. Lew Wolff has stated he will buy the rest of the land at Diridon if necessary if the City of San Jose cannot secure the final parcels.

  13. Mike, if they announce an official move by the end of April, I’ll happily send you a signed copy of Field of Schemes inscribed, “You were right and I was wrong.”

    Now, what do I win if they don’t move?

  14. A silicon bracelet? A copy of “Kingsgate”, to be made in the same spirit as “Sonicsgate”?

    Anyway, Taylor-ICON has stopped working on this project.


    The Bee had an article over the weekend about how dazzling the new Orlando arena is. Is it true that the Magic pay only $1M in rent? I think the Maloofs believe they’re entitled to a similar deal.

    But right now, Plan B is Sacramento, and Plan B is suspended.

  15. Hey, the Pacers only pay $1 (no M) in rent. The Magic are getting rooked!

    I’m sure the Maloofs think they’re entitled to a similar deal, but I doubt Samueli sees it that way. And unlike the cities of Indianapolis and Orlando, he’s likely to drive a harder bargain. Lots of Disney on Ice to fill those dates if the Kings don’t come…

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