[UPDATED: Bonds OK'd, Sacto Talks Suit, I'm an 'Insidious Little Creep'] Sacramento Kings In Serious Talks to Move to Anaheim
Meanwhile, the Sacramento City Council has moved beyond grief to the anger stage: Cap city leaders last nght discussed possible litigation against the Maloof brothers to keep the Kings.
Speaking of anger, check out this email yours truly received from a Mr. Spencer Hall . . .
Thanks, Spence. I'll make that an LA River Roadkill Royale with Cheese in honor of our new NBA team.
How many times has Orange County filed for Bankruptcy?
You should answer that question publicly before you call Sacramento, your own CAPITAL, a 'cowtown'; you little insidious creep. You are a disgrace to journalism and an embarrassment for the second rate publishing company that has the unfortunate title of being the parent to this worthless site. I hope your tap water comes from the LA river and your food, well...
John Danberg's message (essentially): Don't trust the Maloof brothers because the Kings' owners are deadbeats.
The Maloofs' comeback (essentially) Shut your piehole, Danberg!
Danberg claims in the letter a Kings move will cause the franchise to default on $77 million in loan payments owed to Sacramento. For that reason, he urged Anaheim leaders to stop negotiating with the team lest the Orange County city find itself in the same predicament. Sacramento is also seeking state legislation to stop the Kings' talks with Anaheim until the loan issue is resolved.
Calling Danberg's missive "an awful letter," Kings co-owner George Maloof warned Sacramento against "interfering with our business," saying the owners take their business "very seriously."
He added the Kings have not missed a payment to Sacramento, telling the Sacramento Bee, "We have no intention of leaving that town without paying our debt. For someone to imply that we are not going to pay our debts, it's wrong, it's ridiculous."
The deal the Anaheim council is looking at tonight calls for $50 million in bonds to be used for relocation costs and $25 million to renovate the Honda Center. The city claims taxpayer funds will not be put at risk, as increased Honda Center revenues will pay back the bonds.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers are looking at a deal of their own--and not liking what they are seeing. ESPN.com reports the team's recent $3 billion, 20-year deal with Time Warner Cable loses value if the Kings move to Anaheim. Estimates put that loss at 10 percent, although it should also be noted the Lakers and Time Warner deny the deal's pricetag was $3 billion.
UPDATE, MARCH 24, 11:18 A.M.: "It feels like a slow death," Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson begins his latest blog post.
He goes on to thank the fans and groups fighting to keep the Kings, saying his heart is with him. But his head "wants this painful drama to end."
KJ is obviously ready to move on and, with a town committed to pro sports, prove to the NBA it deserves another franchise.
"The slow death is almost over. It's painful. But a new beginning is right around the corner," he ends the post.
Meanwhile, the mood is much rosier for Johnson's Anaheim counterpart.
Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait has not come right out and said the city is wooing the Kings/Royals, but he's come damn near close.
Da Mayor announced at Tuesday's City Council meeting that Anaheim is busy working to land an NBA team and that the city may help to improve the Honda Center to make it more enticing to a pro ball club.
UPDATE, MARCH 22, 8:59 A.M.: Normally, an Anaheim City Council agenda item concerning the sale of bonds to fund improvements to the Honda Center would be no big whoop.
But because the Sacramento Kings are a free throw away from morphing into the Anaheim Royals, tonight's council matter has wags wagging.
Not that anything will happen.
City staff will apparently request the matter be postponed until April 12, which is a day before the current NBA season ends and the deadline for Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof to inform the league whether they're moving the franchise.
The improvements are supposedly needed to bring the Honda Center up to NBA standards when it comes to player lockers, a practice facility and storage space for Carmelo Anthony's ego.
Getting the council to float bonds might (or should) be a tall order considering Anaheim is $10 million in debt.
Then again, filling in Honda's normally dark days with NBA games should make that money back for the city in no time. If, ahem, the King Royals are even coming.
The Anaheim Royalty site is convinced they are.
The "Anaheim Royals fans' premier source for news, forums and media" has a live ticker counting down to "Anaheim Decision Day" for the Maloofs, photos like the one you see here imagining the Royals uniform, and posts giddy with anticipation of a King-sized move south.
UPDATE, MARCH 17, 9:58 A.M.: Attorney Scott Hervey, who has worked for Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof on the Maloof Money Cup skateboarding competition in Costa Mesa and other sports ventures, filed for at least four federal trademark registrations for the basketball franchise this month.
Among the names filed March 3, according to ESPN.com (via the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) were Anaheim Royals, Anaheim Royals of Southern California, Orange County Royals and Los Angeles Royals.
UPDATE, MARCH 16, 12:05 P.M.: Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is so convinced The Maloofs have one foot and "three toes, maybe four" on the other foot out his city's door that he's turned to other cities that have lost NBA teams and gained new ones for advice.
Unwilling to share the former NBA point guard's pessimism is the Here We Stay group, which stormed the Sacramento City Council meeting last night.
And perhaps the only Kings fan in Sacramento who wants the team to go has been outed: state Senator Lou Correa (D-Anaheim).
"I still believe that it's imminent," Johnson said Monday via Capital Public Radio. "That it's more likely that they'll leave than stay."
The former Phoenix Suns star is obviously done reading the Maloof tea leaves. So is the team-owned and -produced radio show on local station KHTK. The weekly Kings Talk program is no longer taking phone calls from listeners because of the nonstop questions about the Kings' future that only the Maloofs can answer, reports Real GM Basketball.
Dire predictions did not stop dozens of Here We Stay supporters from marching into Sacramento City Hall Tuesday evening and taking over the public comments section of the council meeting.
Johnson asked the fans, who are part of a 5,000-strong movement on Facebook and Twitter, to pose for pictures with council members to document the local support, reports News 10 on Sacramento's ABC affiliate.
Next up for Here We Stay is organizing ticket sales in an attempt to sell out the Kings' remaining homes games. But enthusiastic fans in Sacramento can fill Arco until the cowbells come home, and it won't change this fact staring the Maloofs in their wallets: Television-rights revenues in the larger SoCal market could quadruple the Kings' current contract in Sacto. That kind of revenue infusion may be the only way to make the franchise a winner again.
No one would be more pleased to see that than Correa, who has hanging on the door leading into his Sacramento office a homemade sign that reads, "Welcome, Anaheim Kings."
He tells the Fresno Bee that some have lobbed verbal "bombs at me" for the public display of dislocation. "But at the end of the day," Correa reportedly said, "I tell these guys, 'Look, I think Honda Center is going to be a good place for them.'"
Good for him, too. As the Bee's Buzzer notes, the politico lives only a short jog from the arena. He may want to change his Sacramento address if the move goes through, though.