Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson disputes skepticism over city's bid

NEW YORK -- One day after a decision on the fate of the Kings was delayed again, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson disputed some owners' skepticism about the legitimacy of the city's bid to keep the team from moving to Seattle.

Commissioner David Stern said at Friday's Board of Governors meeting that the financial backing behind the Sacramento group led by Vivek Ranadive was "documented to somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 percent," and added, "There are other issues that we just need some more answers on."

One owner told CBSSports.com he had doubts about Sacramento's offer, saying, "The check's in the mail, and that's not good enough. The check's got to arrive."

Speaking on CBS Sports Radio's Eye on Basketball show Saturday, Johnson said that interpretation was "inconsistent with the commissioner's statement." Johnson said he's spoken with several owners who "feel very good about where we are."

"When you say 80 percent there, I think they're just vetting both proposals in terms of ownership group and in terms of financing of the arena dynamics," Johnson said. "... We first heard the team was for sale on Jan. 9 and what that price was. So in short order, less than three months, we put an ownership group together and we got the city to pass a $258 million investment for a new arena. I think the owners are blown away with how quickly we were able to match that offer and be competitive."

A 12-owner committee navigating the difficult issue of whether the Kings will stay in Sacramento or be sold to a group led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer met Wednesday in New York. The board's executive committee and full board were briefed Thursday and Friday and the owners requested additional information before voting on the matter.

Stern said the committee will reconvene late next week and formalize a recommendation to the 30 owners, who will have at least seven days to review the matter before voting. The earliest the team's fate could be resolved is the week of May 6.

"I think we've given them a lot to think about," Johnson said. "This thing would've been over if we didn't have something as competitive and as a strong as we've brought forward. ... I think everybody thought two or three months ago we were dead in the water. And the fact that there has not been a final decision made to this point and things have been prolonged, I think those favor the incumbent."

You can listen to the entire interview, and hear Eye on Basketball on CBS Sports Radio every Saturday from 6-8 p.m. ET.

Kevin Johnson on Eye on Basketball

 
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