[UPDATED with Cow Town Checkmating Toontown?:] Sacramento Kings in Serious Talks to Move to Anaheim
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.