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The owners of the Sacramento Kings went before the NBA’s board of governors today to explain why they want to the leave the city and set up shop in Anaheim.The Maloof brothers are in debt, losing money, and want a new arena. They also think they can’t get that in Sac-town.
They were immediately followed by Sacramento mayor (and former NBA great) Kevin Johnson, who proceeded to drop a bomb on the NBA and commissioner David Stern.
He’s got a buyer. One who can keep the team in Sacramento and make it successful.
NBA writer Sam Amick says that, according to his source, Stern made a crack about it being a local car dealer. Then he suddenly got quiet when Johnson told him who it was.
Burkle, who is a co-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins and worth $3.2B, has the money and the business savvy to make the Kings a legitimate business. The Maloofs are casino magnates, whose only solution for the struggling franchise is to move it the L.A., where the NBA already has two teams.
The league can’t force them to sell, but they can force them to stay. If the owners think Burkle would make a better partner — and avoid another Seattle Sonics debacle by keeping the team where they are — they could block relocation or demand an unreasonable moving fee. That would leave the Maloofs with the choice of sticking it out in Northern California, or cutting their losses and selling.
The fans made their choice clear. Hundreds of them stayed long after the final buzzer of last night’s home finale to cheer and chant and let it be know that they want the Kings to stay. It was an emotional night that even got the team’s announcers choked up over the possibility of having called their final game in Sacramento.