David Stern acknowledges talks between Anaheim and Kings.
Posted by Matt Moore
In his comments to the press Saturday night before the All-Star activities, commisioner David Stern acknowledged that the Kings are in discussions with Anaheim officials to relocate the team. The comments from Stern confirmed an earlier report from KFBK in Sacramento that Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli had offered a $100 million loan for the Maloof in exchange for the Kings' relocation. At the time, the interest was thought to be primarily from Samueli.
But ESPN later reported Saturday night that the Maloofs are "seriously considering" applying for relocation on March 1st. That, in essence, would be the ballgame.
The city of Sacramento has failed in about ten different ways to approve funding for a new arena to replace Arco Arena, which is considered more of a tomb than an arena at this point. It's a struggling economy in a small market, and mayor Kevin Johnson is at his wits' end trying to come up with a solution to keep the Kings in Sactown. If the Maloofs decide to file for relocation in eight days, it's over. No more initiatives, no more discussions. The NBA owners will approve, the Kings will take the money and run.
This is a huge moment for the league in terms of its future in market relations. Big name players are abandoning their teams for brighter lights and bigger payrolls. Small market teams are bleeding money. Revenue sharing is the key debate in the union-owners talks. And Sacramento, home to one fo the most passionate fanbases in the NBA, may lose its team. If something isn't done, soon, the league's not going to have any small markets left.