NBA owners call timeout on Kings move, deadline pushed back

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The NBA owners have called a timeout on the Kings efforts to move out of Sacramento and to Anaheim.

It likely still will happen, especially after the NBA took the ludicrous step of naming Clay Bennett — you remember him, the guy that bought the Sonics and put in a non-existent effort to get a new building in Seattle, then moved the team to Oklahoma city screwing the Sonics fan base — as the head of the relocation committee.

But the league is going to take a closer look at everything for a couple of weeks. So that’s something.

The bottom line is that the deadline to file an application to move has been pushed back to May 2, NBA Commissioner David Stern said. The board listened to presentations both from Anaheim people and Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Sacramento (and former NBA player).

Reports out of Sacramento say that after two days of meetings with the Board of Governors (made up of the other NBA owners) the Kings owners, the Maloof brothers, are frustrated. They wanted a faster process — they wanted a rubber stamp approval — and the other owners have a lot of questions.

“The terms of the relocation to Anaheim were not fully understood by the committee, having to do with the lease and the arraignments between the Kings and Anaheim entities,” Stern said at a press conference Wednesday. “In addition, Mayor Johnson came in and said there would be lots of additional dollars available that would improve the Kings economic performance in Sacramento if they stayed. And that the community had recently been mobilized and could aid a keeping of them there for a season.

“So the committee decided to do a little more fact finding.”

Stern followed up to say that while the documentation in Anaheim was not incomplete (a word he had used earlier), the others owners understanding of the documentation was incomplete. Says it was a complex deal that the owners could not get their heads around.

Johnson and Sacramento offered a couple carrots. One was the possibility of between $7 million and $9 million in new sponsorship and other revenues. In addition to better season ticket sales, things that could help keep the Kings in the black in Sacramento.

The owners also seemed to have questions about the lease deal the Maloofs are getting into, which includes Honda Center operator Henry Samueli (the owner of the NHL’s Ducks) getting a chunk of luxury box revenue and more.

“The committee wanted more time to understand certain financing issues, certain television issues, certain issues regarding construction that would need to be committed to to enhance the fan experience and raise revenue expectations at the building,” Stern said. “And, if the relocation were approved, what would be an appropriate relocation fee.”

Stern said that the idea of billionaire Ron Burkle stepping in to buy the team — something else Johnson brought up — was not a high priority. Unless the Maloofs want to sell, he’s not really going to have any leverage

In the end, as it always does in Sacramento, it came back around to the building. Stern hammered away at both how inadequate the current Power Balance Arena (formerly ARCO) was, and how there had been multiple efforts shot down. Stern was pretty bitter about it. As if telling Sacramento it had its chance, and it has been too slow in getting a new building up and running.

But for now, everybody has taken a time out.