NBA sets four-year deadline for new Kings arena or can reclaim team

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Vivek Ranadive and Kevin Johnson have four year to save the Kings.   (USATSI)
Vivek Ranadive and Kevin Johnson have four years to save the Kings. (USATSI)

The nightmare is over for Kings fans. The team is safe in Sacramento and won't be going anywhere ... well, for four years at least. The NBA has placed a deadline on the new ownership group lead by Vivek Ranadive to construct a new arena, or the league may actually reclaim the team. From the Sacramento Bee:

Hours after Vivek Ranadive and his partners completed the record-setting purchase of the franchise from the Maloof family, NBA Commissioner David Stern revealed that the Ranadive group must meet "a series of benchmarks" for a new arena - or risk losing the Kings to another city.

If deadlines are blown, Stern told The Sacramento Bee, the NBA has the option of pulling the Kings out of Sacramento and arranging for the team's sale to new owners.

The Ranadive group agreed to the deadlines in writing, Stern said.

Stern said he doesn't expect Sacramento to miss its deadlines, but league owners insisted on the doomsday option "in the unlikely event" Sacramento can't get the arena project rolling in a "reasonable" amount of time.

It's a unique situation I can't remember reading about in the history of the league. "Here, we're going to allow you to buy this team, but if you don't do these things we want, we're going to take it away from you." Then again, the league just told the Maloofs they couldn't sell the team to who they wanted to or move it where they wanted, so at least they're consistent.

The league is requesting the new building open by 2017, a year after the ownership group promised it would. Four years should be enough time, but with the market conditions and with Ranadive without an NBA track record, there will still be concern. So Sacramento fans are out of the woods ... for a while.

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