Maloofs get extension; Stern says Burkle bid not a high priority

10:10 PM, Apr 15, 2011   |    comments
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NEW YORK - The owners of the Sacramento Kings are still looking south for their new home and have no interest in selling the team.

In fact, owner George Maloof called a billionaire's last-minute bid to buy their team "hogwash."  

The Maloofs have been negotiating to move the team to Anaheim, but they're not yet ready to formally petition the NBA.  The Maloofs requested more time and received it.

At a Friday news conference during the two-day NBA Board of Governors meeting in New York, Commissioner David Stern said the Maloofs would now have until May 2 to file their relocation bid.  The deadline had been April 18. 

Billionaire's bid

As for the last-minute proposal led by California billionaire Ron Burkle to buy the Kings and keep the team in Sacramento, George Maloof said, "I think it's hogwash.  It's just words."

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson revealed the surprise proposal Thursday at the board of governors meeting.

The plan, led by Burkle and Sacramento businessman Darius Anderson, would keep an NBA franchise in Sacramento "either by purchasing the Kings from the Maloofs or by purchasing another franchise and relocating it to Sacramento," according to a news release from the mayor.

The Maloof brothers have insisted all along the Kings were not for sale. 

George Maloof said the Burkle proposal was all talk.  "They never approached us.  We told them a month ago we weren't interested and all of a sudden, they just show up the night before.  Not very cool," he said.

Gavin Maloof reiterated the family's position.  "We're not selling, 100 percent.  So tell Ron Burkle he can go back to where he came from.  We like him, but we're not selling." 

Stern calls time-out

In granting the extension for the relocation application, Stern said he was giving all sides a "time-out."  

"I think it's fair to say there were good presentations made by both the Anaheim groups and Sacramento groups," Stern said. 

"Mayor Johnson came in and said...that there would be lots of additional dollars that would be available that would improve the Kings economic performance in Sacramento if they stayed, and that the community had recently been mobilized and was in a position to aid, I won't say a return, but keeping them there for the coming season," Stern said.

In the next few weeks, the commissioner said the chairman of the NBA's relocation committee was going to "lead some-fact-finding efforts" in both Sacramento and Anaheim.

The committee would determine whether Sacramento has the resources to keep the Kings in town but also whether Southern California could support a third NBA team.

As for Johnson's contention to the NBA that Sacramento can figure out a way to build a new sports arena, Stern said, "(I said that) my personal involvement in chasing an arena was done.  But the mayor has come and said it could happen.  So we'll give him a chance, let's see what it is."

The commissioner also said the Burkle development, whether to buy the Kings or bring another NBA team to Sacramento, was not high on the agenda for the NBA governors.

A move to Anaheim would have to be approved by a majority of the NBA's 30 owners.  

When asked if Sacramento would get a new NBA franchise if the Kings left, George Maloof replied, "I don't think so."

Bryan May, Nick Monacelli and Claudia Johnson contributed to this story.


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