UPDATE #2, 1:04 pm: Here is what George Maloof told the Associated Press.
“The mayor of Sacramento has told the NBA relocation committee that he will have a plan for a new arena within a year,” Maloof said Monday. “If not, the team will be relocated to another city….
“I think it’s the fair thing to do,” Maloof said. “We’ve always said we think Sacramento has the best NBA fans in the world. Their overwhelming show of support was incredible. But now they realize that we’re giving them another opportunity and we’re anxious to play basketball.”
Another whole issue in this whether the Maloofs can get anything done in Sacramento, if their efforts would help a new arena get built. They are now pariahs in the city where their team is located. The team’s fans hate them. They hold no power or sway to speak of, and there are a lot of Kings fans who will soon be pushing for them to step aside. Which they will not do willingly.
This is still a messy situation with a long way to go.
UPDATE 11:57 am: Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated got confirmation from the decision makers — Kings staying put. He tweeted:
Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof just confirmed to me by phone that the family has decided not to file for relocation.
Later today there will be press releases by the NBA and Maloof brothers echoing these reports.
Great news for Sacramento, which should spend the day celebrating. Then they better get to work if they want to keep the team.
11:36 am: We told you last night this was coming, now the news is starting to become official.
People with the Honda Center in Anaheim were told this morning of the decision of the Maloof brothers (the owners of the Kings) to remain in Sacramento for another season, according to Randy Youngman at the Orange County Register.
Officials from Anaheim Arena Management, which had been in relocation negotiations with the Maloofs since September, were told of the family’s decision early Monday morning.
The NBA is expected to issue a statement Monday morning announcing that the franchise will remain in Sacramento and not submit an application to move by Monday’s twice-delayed relocation deadline. A statement from the Kings is expected to follow.
The writing was on the wall for this in recent weeks, and the Maloofs may have been the last to recognize it. Other NBA owners had questions about adding a third team to the Southern California market and they had questions about the Maloof family finances and what was the motivation for the move. The move always reeked of desperation — do you really want to move into a new market with a looming lockout that will piss off fans being your first action?
Sacramento is not out of the woods — if they don’t make significant progress on a new arena by a year from now the Kings will move somewhere and the NBA will not get in the way.
But whether that move would be to Anaheim is another question entirely. There would continue to be opposition from real heavy hitters to move into that market. Anaheim may end up being what Los Angeles is to the NFL — a threat to dangle so that better deals get made elsewhere.