Preventing Kings' move a tough sell
BY ANTONIO GONZALEZ Associated Press
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
2/13/13 at 5:14 AM
The clock is ticking for Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson's efforts to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle.
Speaking at his weekly City Hall news conference, Johnson said Tuesday that the joint committee that will decide whether the Kings leave might want to discuss his city's proposal before the NBA Board of Governors meeting April 19.
Owners can vote on the pending sale and relocation of the Kings at any time, but the annual meeting in New York is typically when decisions about moving a franchise are made. NBA Commissioner David Stern said last week he combined the two committees that oversee sales and relocations and told them, "You guys figure it out."
"I'm under the assumption that the joint committee may want to hear from us sooner," Johnson said. "We're going to have all the agreements and all the actions and all the documents squared by March 1, as well as if there's an opportunity to present to the joint committee prior to mid-April, then I feel very confident."
Johnson plans to be in Houston this weekend during All-Star festivities to lobby league owners and update Stern on Sacramento's latest efforts.
The Seattle group led by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, which has a pending purchase agreement for the Kings, already has filed for relocation. The relocation of a franchise requires a majority approval of the Board of Governors - which consists of league owners - and the sale of the franchise would require a three-fourths majority. Stern appointed the joint committee to work through the complex deal.
Johnson, a former NBA All-Star, has been promised a chance to present a bid to NBA owners to keep the team in California's capital city - with a plan to help finance a new downtown arena.
The mayor has introduced more than 20 local investors who have pledged at least $1 million each to be minority owners in the team, but he has yet to announce the major equity partners he hopes will anchor a "fair and competitive offer" to present to the league.