Kings bench players and Goon Squad members Pooh Jeter, Donte Greene, Samuel Dalembert and Carl Landry dance before the start of the game.
SACRAMENTO, CA - At his weekly press conference, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said he has no plans to lobby other NBA owners as Sacramento Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof have discussions to move the team to Anaheim, CA.
The deadline to file for relocation is March 1.
"I have not lobbied, I have no leverage," Johnson said. "This is a business decision they have to make."
Johnson has spent the last several days responding to reports the Kings were seriously considering filing relocation papers to move the team to Anaheim starting next season. The mayor said the Kings are losing between $10 and $20 million a year right now, so he understands from a business standpoint why the Maloofs are considering the move.
While the arena issue has also loomed large over the Kings' organization, Johnson also blamed the team's poor record for the low attendance numbers the last few seasons.
"When you put a basketball product on the court that doesn't win a lot of games, that's very challenging to fans," he said.
Tuesday's comments come one day after Johnson released a statement that said as far as he was concerned, the Kings were still Sacramento's team.
Meantime, developer David Taylor and arena builder ICON, chosen by the Sacramento City Council earlier this month to come up with a new arena plan, say they are still awaiting information and research conducted by the Kings organization about a new venue.
"There have been conversations between the Taylor-ICON team and Kings management," said Taylor-ICON representative Ashley Robinson in a statement made Tuesday afternoon. "The Kings agreed to provide us with their research and information in the near future. We talked about the end of this week, but don't have confirmation we will have it by Friday. We have also told the Kings that we need a meeting to start our work and are trying to coordinate a date."
Regardless of a new arena, local sports experts believe it's only a matter of time.
"The moving vans have started," said Bill Bradley, the former sports editor for the Sacramento Bee.
Bradley now runs his own sports blog, 27X7.com, where he blamed ARCO Arena for a potential Kings' departure.
"Without a new arena and without a new revenue stream, they're going to take the best deal they can," he said.
"Sacramento literally has one of the worst arenas, if the not the worst winter sports arena in the country. It has one kitchen to feed 17,000 people. It has small concourses and fewer loading docks than most arenas. All in all it was built on the cheap and it shows."
Other do not think the Maloofs will file before the March 1 deadline. If that's the case, Mayor Johnson hopes to use the extra time to draft plans for a new arena.
By Nick Monacelli, firstname.lastname@example.org