The Maloof brothers have a little more time to negotiate and think things through.
The NBA’s Board of Governors — the owners — has granted the Sacramento Kings an extension until April 18 to file for relocation next season, according to a tweet from CNBC’s Darren Rovell. That deadline is usually March 1. The board will meet again April 14-15, so if a move is approved it likely will be then.
The Kings are in talks with the Honda Center in Anaheim to move south next season and become the third team in the Southern California market.
The Maloof brothers — Joe and Gavin — have worked for years to get a new building in Sacramento that would house the Kings, but could not get a deal done. Combine that with the slumping economy, attendance being down because the team stunk and was boring, and you have the reasons the Kings have struggled financially.
Anaheim has an NBA-ready building in the Honda Center — it’s 18 years old but does have a lot of luxury boxes and the other high end seating that have become the real driver of team gate receipts and profit. What it also has is a massive Southern California television market (one where the Lakers just got a deal in the ballpark of $150 million a season).
All that does not ensure anything — the NHL’s Ducks play in that building and are 26th in that league in attendance, or 23rd in percentage of building filled.
The Honda Center is run by billionaire in Henry Samueli, the owner of said Ducks and co-founders of Broadcom. He is worth an estimated $1.7 billion. The Maloofs have said however they would not be selling the team to Samueli nor accepting a loan from him.
If the Kings were to move they would not have to pay territorial rights fees to the Lakers and Clippers (which likely would have killed such a move).
Monday night an organized rally of Kings fans filled the ARCO Arena to show the Maloof brothers how much support there still is for the Kings in Sacramento. Unquestionably there is — it has been a loyal and strong market. But high-end seating and local television revenues are the driving forces for NBA team finances, and that is where Sacramento has fallen short.
And we’ll know by April 18 if the Kings will screw over the Sacramento fans this summer.