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.