|Kevin Johnson is back at the bargaining table with the Maloofs. (Getty Images)|
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com obtained statements from spokespeople for both Kings ownership and the city of Sacramento which indicated that Kings co-owner George Maloof and Mayor Johnson met cordially in Las Vegas on Friday to re-open dialogue, with plans to continue discussions in the future.
"This afternoon Mayor Kevin Johnson had a meeting at the Palms Hotel and meet with George Maloof for nearly an hour," the Kings' statement read. "The meeting was cordial; however, nothing definitive resulted from the meeting. The Maloof family will not have any further comments on the meeting."
"Today, Mayor Johnson flew to Las Vegas and had a productive meeting with George Maloof," the city's statement read. "Although the core principles of the deal weren't discussed, both sides agreed that open lines of communication would be in everyone's best interest moving ahead. In that spirit, the parties agreed to have a follow up conversation early next week."
The news comes one week after Maloof, Johnson and NBA commissioner David Stern all agreed that talks concerning the construction of a new Sacramento arena deal had fallen apart less than two months after a tentative agreement was reached between the sides over All-Star Weekend in February.
Last week, Maloof said in a televised press conference that the handshake deal needed additional negotiation or it wouldn't suffice and expressed reservations with the financial projections included in the agreement principle.
"If the mayor says he's not negotiating then he killed the deal, it's over," Maloof said. "It's over."
Johnson, meanwhile, painted the Maloofs as reneging on the deal and said that he was surprised by their actions.
"I am still baffled to say the least how we got here," Johnson said last week. "We had a win-win-win. If someone doesn't want to honor that agreement and partnership, we as a community have to say, 'No, thank you.'"
Stern said last Friday, speaking from the NBA's Board of Governors meeting, that the NBA had reached the point where it was no longer able to help the process. The league had previously agreed to loan the Maloofs some money to aid with arena pre-development costs.
"I am extremely disappointed, on behalf of both the Maloofs and the city of Sacramento, but I think that there's nothing further to be done," Stern said. "This is a situation the Maloofs will have to make judgments on and the city will have to make judgments on. I think we've done as much as we can do."
As the drama developed last week, Maloof went so far as to say that he wanted further negotiations with the city to exclude Johnson because he was offended by some of the Mayor's comments. Obviously, Friday's meeting appears to put that animus in the rearview mirror.
The Kings are scheduled to play in Sacramento for the 2012-2013 season. Their future past that is still unclear. A previous bid to relocate to Anaheim was squelched last year.