When the Maloof brothers asked the other NBA owners for more time to declare whether or not they were moving the Sacramento Kings this off-season, it was obviously to give them time to finish negotiations on the many facets of the deal still needing to be done.
The Honda Center has the luxury boxes and some of the amenities the Maloofs want to help drive revenue. But it also is still an 18-year-old building. The locker rooms would need to be upgraded and a new practice facility would need to be built for the team.
On April 12, the Anaheim City Council will vote on whether or not to float bonds to pay for those upgrades. That would be one day before the Kings season ends, and just six days ahead of the Maloofs April 18 deadline to inform the NBA of its plans.
The city of Anaheim owns the Honda Center, but Anaheim Ducks’ owner Henry Samueli manages it. He also is rumored to be giving the Maloofs a $100 million loan to facilitate this move, something the Maloofs have denied.
Moving is going to be expensive — there is $30 million league relocation fee, plus a $70 million outstanding loan from Sacramento — so a number of things still have to come together for the Kings to pull this off. It could fall apart.
But the momentum is there. It’s more likely to happen than not. And with a television contract that could be four times what the Kings got in Sacramento, and with a new building with more luxury boxes and revenue streams, they think the short term pain is worth the long term gain.
Well, at least until the lockout kills that momentum in the community and the Maloofs find that the people of Orange County only come out when the team is winning.