Blog Entry

Mayor Johnson: Billionaire wants to buy Kings

Posted on: April 14, 2011 4:52 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2011 5:45 pm
Kevin Johnson, the Mayor of Sacramento, says that a billionaire has emerged to purchase the Kings and keep them in Sacramento. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Have fans of the Sacramento Kings been thrown a lifeline? One day after the team closed its regular season at home in front of a teary crowd, Kevin Johnson, the Mayor of Sacramento, has raised a possible alternative to the franchise relocating to Anaheim.

Johnson wrote on Twitter that billionaire Ron Burkle, who is a co-owner of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, is "very interested in buying the Kings and keeping them in Sacramento." Johnson is currently in New York City to make a presentation to the NBA's Board of Governors as are the Maloof brothers, the team's current ownership group.

A firm representing Burkle issued a press release on Thursday, via SacTown Royalty, stating his intentions.
"The Maloofs have been strong owners and a positive part of the Sacramento community for years, but it is important that Kings fans and residents of the Sacramento region know that the Burkle Group is ready to commit the resources and expertise necessary to keep the NBA in Sacramento. Our group believes Sacramento is an important NBA market that can thrive with new ideas, new resources and an absolute commitment to delivering the best on and off-court experiences for fans.
"This group, led by Pittsburgh Penguins owner Ron Burkle, is prepared to assist the Mayor by bringing significant resources and the best possible expertise in professional sports, facilities development and financing to bear in the effort to keep Sacramento as an NBA city."
Will Burkle be able to swoop in like Superman to save the day? That's unclear. One key issue: How viable are the Maloof brothers? In recent years, they've sold off their other businesses, taken a huge hit in their Las Vegas casinos, laid off Kings employees, taken out a big loan from the NBA and a huge part of their plan to relocate to Anaheim was centered around up-front money they would receive in the deal as well as long-term television revenue. 

The Maloofs need the NBA's Boad of Governors to approve their relocation plan to Anaheim. That group is also capable of levying a major relocation fee. There has been some pushback around the league about the Kings relocating to Anaheim because it would place three NBA franchises in Southern California. reports that Burkle's interest isn't short-lived but that the Maloofs are reluctant to part with the Kings.
Burkle been working on this for weeks. When KJ told Stern he had a possible buyer, the commish made crack about it being a local car dealer. If, however, the good ol' boys club decides that they're not viable, then there could be pressure to sell. That's where Burkle comes in. All that being said, they really have been adamant that they would not sell the team.
Right now, this feels like a Hail Mary, which is exactly what's Ken Berger called it on Twitter
Sac Mayor Kevin Johnson unleashed Hail Mary today in his bid to keep the Kings in Sacramento. Ron Burkle wants to buy team, keep it in Sac. "We felt good about it," said Darius Anderson, who is with Burkle's proposed ownership group. "We're just trying to present alternatives." But the Burkle plan was met with skepticism in the owners's executive committee meeting. "Too little, too late," one team rep said. reported on Thursday that Gavin Maloof was asked about the possibility of a Burkle bid and said simply: "We are not selling."

The NBA and its individual owners do have a vested interest in both keeping franchises in their current cities and finding self-sustaining ownership groups. Johnson knows that, and his pitch will likely be greeted with open arms by everyone except the Maloofs, who now face all sorts of new questions and complications. Johnson's plan clearly succeeded in one major way: it turned what the Maloofs had hoped would be a discreet process into a battle involving the court of public opinion.

Since: May 30, 2008
Posted on: April 15, 2011 12:30 pm

Mayor Johnson: Billionaire wants to buy Kings

I live in Sacramento and it is used to be a nice, safe, harmonious place to live.  Then Southern California transplants moved here and it became disgusting.

Since: Apr 1, 2009
Posted on: April 15, 2011 11:46 am

Mayor Johnson: Billionaire wants to buy Kings

Hey genius, if you look at a map you will realize Los Angeles and Anaheim are two different places.  

Since: Apr 1, 2009
Posted on: April 15, 2011 11:44 am

Mayor Johnson: Billionaire wants to buy Kings

Sacramento (AKA Suckramento) is the ugliest city in California.   Bums sleeping on the street, roving bands of criminals attacking women.   It is truly a disgusting place.   There is no wonder why the Maloof's want to bring their team to beautiful Orange County.   A prime example of the people who live here is this idiot.  He can't even spell steal.    You would think he would be able to spell that word since it is probably how he makes his living.  

Since: Apr 15, 2011
Posted on: April 15, 2011 10:41 am

LA is too dangerous for Sports

Look at what happened to the Giants fan at Dodger Stadium.  Look where all the rioting and looting take place.   LA is a meca of fake people, movie star scum, illegal mexican drug lords and gangs.  Nothing good comes out of that hell hole.  They steel all Northern CA water becasue the idiots live in a desert.  The funniest thing is they can not even support a NFL Football team and Northern CA has two.  You LA people are a big fat joke.  San Diego.  I am not talking about you.  I love San Diego.  It is NorCal South.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: April 15, 2011 8:16 am

Mayor Johnson: Billionaire wants to buy Kings

     Arco (now Powerbalance Arena) is outdated as far as generating revenue for a longterm tenant.  It's ok for the occasional WWE and tractor pulls they have, but not for the NBA.  As a matter of fact the NCAA told Sac they were no longer have a FIRST ROUND tourny there anymore.  That's the NCAA people.  So if Arco isn't good enough to host a college event for a weekend how in the world can people think it's marketable to support an NBA franchise. 
     Also, let's stop jumping on the Maloofs.  They aren't money-hounding vampires and blood sucking leaches.  These are the same guys who wrote checks to a cop's family when he was killed in the line of duty to make it financially possible for all of the family to be able to fly home for the funeral.  Sac moving is a business decision.  If anybody wants to blame somebody for the Kings moving then blame the Sacramento City Government prior to Kevin Johnson.  The former mayor didn't even like pro sports to begin with and it showed.  The Triple A Rivercats, a very good MLB farm team, had to build their stadium in Sacramento COUNTY.  Not the city where they wanted to build but the county.  That's because the city officials didn't want it.  You can also blame voters who said no when it came time to anty up a tourism tax to help pay for an arena.  It was a tourism tax, meaning LOCAL RESIDENCE DON'T PAY, IT'S FOR TRAVELORS.  But Sac said NO. 
     While I agree the Maloofs should move the Kings I don't think they should move the team to Anaheim.  There's so many cities in the country without the NBA (Kansas City for example) that would welcome an NBA franchise.  Why have 3 teams in a 30 miles radius and 2 of them play in the same building?  Makes no sense at all.  
     And, where was this "Billionaire Buyer" 6 months ago?  And if he's got so much money and wants to buy a team then why can't he simply build an arena with private money in the city limits, lease the Maloofs and Kings as tenants for the next 20 years, and make his money back on booking engagements and events?  
     Even the city of Stockton, 30 minutes south of Sacramento, built an arena! And that is 10,000 seat arena for minor league hockey, soccer, and AFL2!!!!  

Since: Feb 22, 2008
Posted on: April 15, 2011 1:47 am

Mayor Johnson: Billionaire wants to buy Kings

Although from the area I have no major love for Sacramento, but speaking of piles of excrement large swathes of the LA area have to rank right up there.  The slums are worse than anything in the Northen half of the state and most of the people live in character-less suburbs just like they do up here.  LA sucks at least as much as Sac, so get over yourself. 

The Kings shouldn't be going anywhere.  Vegas might make sense, but Anaheim is stupid.  There are already two NBA teams in the city, they don't need a third.  Vegas is intriguing but not going to happen.  What need to happen is that Northern California needs to get a sports franchise serious about winning.  The teams here are actually well-supported, which is remarkable considering that cheapskate owners have been milking the fans for years.  The signs right now are positive; the 49ers are trying, the Giants just won a World Series, and the new Warrriors owners seem willing to try, but they are a long way away.  The fans of Sacramento deserve better than the Maloofs.  These clowns have been running their team into the ground for a decade and now have the balls to complain about lack of support.  The Kings were one of the most rabidly supported franchises in the league until they Maloofs decided to start subverting the operation to get out of town.  I can see the plot unfolding now as the Kings start to gather decent peices right as they make the push to move in hopes of being competitive.  But how do you explain the hiring of Reggie Theus unless you are trying to be bad?

And I have never in my life considered not going to a pro sports even because the arena is bad.  The arena in Sac sucks, but the Kings can't possibly expect any support from a  financially stressed public when their final neogotiating position is "pay to build this for us and give us all of the revenue that results from it so we can turn a fat profit for the three years until we move." 

Since: Sep 7, 2008
Posted on: April 15, 2011 1:24 am

Mayor Johnson: Billionaire wants to buy Kings

takes one to know one.

Since: Sep 7, 2008
Posted on: April 15, 2011 1:23 am

Mayor Johnson: Billionaire wants to buy Kings

NBA and refs cheated in 2002. Lakers suck.

Since: Sep 11, 2007
Posted on: April 15, 2011 1:18 am

Mayor Johnson: Billionaire wants to buy Kings

Everyone is missing the biggest point of all.  Sacrsamento is a sh*thole and not just a sh*thole but a sh*thole with a sh*thole of an arena.  Noone wants to live there they are either forced there or were stupid enough to run for office in the state.  Excremento was named state capitol in a time when it was relevant but that was over 160 years ago.  Time to cut and run but not to Anaheim.  It may be time for a franchise in Las Vegas.

Since: Aug 27, 2009
Posted on: April 15, 2011 12:32 am

Mayor Johnson: Billionaire wants to buy Kings

Love it when people try to compare everything to the sonics situation c'mon if you don't know what happened in seattle then don't comment about it:) time for contraction the kings wouldn't be missed no big deal.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or