SACRAMENTO, CA - Even at an Arbor Day tree planting, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson couldn't resist mentioning the efforts to keep the Kings, getting elementary school students to chant, "Long live the Kings!"
Afterward, Johnson said the situation between Sacramento and Seattle (both have submitted offers to buy the Kings and build new arenas) has no precedent and even the NBA isn't sure yet what the decision-making process will be.
"If I were to talk to the commissioner and ask him he'd say, 'I have no idea, we're making it up as we go,'" said Johnson.
But he does know the finance and relocation subcommittees will review both cities' offers and then make recommendations.
When asked if he'll present to the subcommittees, Johnson said with a smile, "I can't reveal all of my strategies right now. I'm going to do what it takes to win at the end of the day."
Technically, the decision could be made before the NBA Board of Governors meet in mid-April, but Commissioner David Stern said it won't be. He plans to wait until then to call for the vote.
The board is made up of 30 team owners, and the Maloofs, the Kings' majority owners, do get to vote.
The sale of the Kings to Seattle needs three-fourths of the governors to approve it. Three-quarters of 30 is 22.5 so Sacramento needs at least eight owners voting against the sale to Seattle.
While signing autographs and taking pictures with fans at another event Thursday, Kings' legend Mitch Richmond said, "I'm staying positive. I think KJ, I'm sorry, the mayor, has done an excellent job by doing the right and the possible things to keep this team here."
Richmond says he joined the local ownership group trying to keep the Kings because of the fans.
"They've been proven, they've been backing this team. It's time for me to give back this time around and give back to the city of Sacramento and the city's fans," Richmond.
Another millionaire named David Dworkin also joined the local investment group.
His cousin owned the Rochester Royals many decades ago before they became the Kansas City Royals and then the Sacramento Kings.
Dworkin said he's involved to preserve history, saying if the Kings become the Sonics, it will all be lost.
by Nick Monacelli, Nick@news10.net