Optimism in Sacramento Arena Talks





ORLANDO – Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson expressed optimism Sunday night that approximately eight hours of meetings with the Kings, the NBA and city officials had brought the sides closer to a deal to build a new arena and keep the team in Northern California.

“I’m really excited with where we are,” Johnson said after talks at a hotel continued through the All-Star game at nearby Amway Center and stopped at 10:05 p.m.

Discussions are scheduled to continue here Monday morning after several participants changed travel plans in hopes that another round of talks would yield an agreement. Johnson said that could come as soon as Monday, but was also careful not to get pinned down on the timing.

The important thing, he noted, was that the process took a step forward Sunday night.

“Absolutely,” the former All-Star point guard said.

The city is facing a March 1 deadline to have an arena deal in place or else the league would give the Kings owners, the Maloof family, a clear path for relocation. If an agreement is reached, the team is definitely staying and hopes in Anaheim and Seattle would be dashed.

The Kings staying has always been a greater possibility than most around the country figured, given how close the only major-league franchise in town had come to leaving for Anaheim nearly a year ago. In the final days before the deadline, people with direct knowledge of negotiations were hopeful – “I think it’s going to happen,” one source said – but also concerned that the financial framework of a very complicated process could fall apart.

As late as Sunday evening, commissioner David Stern was asked just before he left for the All-Star game whether he feels good about the progress of the day and said, “I feel good that we’re still talking,” a sign of little or no forward movement. Johnson later echoed the sentiments, as did owners Joe and Gavin Maloof.

By later Sunday night, after meetings continued with Joel Litvin, the president of league operations, heading the NBA side, the mood felt more upbeat. They hoped to carry that tone into Monday.

11 Comments

  1. Done Deal says:

    Here we stay!!!!

  2. retiredstalker says:

    Seattle Kings?
    sounds eerie but it’s gonna happen

  3. StephenP says:

    I am a life long Utah Jazz fan living in Salt Lake and being in a city with only one major sports team I can totally sympathize with the people in Sacramento. The fans their have always been great much like Salt Lake and I would hate to see the Kings leave for a city like Seattle or Anaheim where the city already has major sports teams.

    I hope they stay where they belong…Sacramento!

  4. Jonesy says:

    It’s been over a decade since I lived in the 916, but I still love Sacramento, and I love the Kings. It would deeply sadden me to see the Kings relocated to So Cal or Seattle. The fans of the Kings are loyal whether in a winning season or not, and the league, the Commish, and the Maloofs know this. However, in this day and age dollar signs speak louder than the love of a city and its fans, but I truly hope all the work by the mayor Johnson and business men in Sac will result in a new stadium, and a long hopefully successful relationship and future with Sacramento’s beloved Kings.

  5. sam says:

    Great NBA city? What a horrible stigma.

  6. sam says:

    NBA is managed so brilliantly. Stern taking Helicopters to and from ASG.
    Praying for a final four this year of:
    Charlotte vs. Toronto
    Sacramento vs. Memphis

    The nation would be captivated!

  7. Dan says:

    “The Kings staying has always been a greater possibility than most around the country figured…”

    Yeah,apparently everyone except all those folks at TNT, NBA.com and ESPN. We have gotten 0 support from mainstream media. ZERO support. TNT messed up the national broadcast less than a month ago. Reporting standards are a joke.

    Sacramento has beaten all the odds and everyone getting this done. This is OUR national championship.

    On a side note, maybe this year we get #1 draft pick, hahaha. All you need is luck? Hahaha, welcome to Sacramento Mr. Davis.

  8. Kisses says:

    Although Sacramento has been a losing team for a few years now, this is still a great NBA city because of the Fans. And its pretty hard to see Sacramento not an NBA city for the next season. I hope they can get this deal right and good enough. I am looking forward to Sacramento being a playoff team once again, not this season but for the years to come. But they should settle the arena first.

  9. Hugo says:

    Yea, I really like the kings. it’s the only big thing in Sacramento, and I would hate for them to leave. So, come on and make the deal and build us a new arena!!!

  10. Rafael says:

    COME ON GUYS, WE’RE SO CLOSE. LET’S GET THE DEAL DONE TOMORROW!!! THE PEOPLE OF SACRAMENTO & THE KINGS WILL REALLY BENEFIT FROM A NEW ARENA!!! IT’S NOW OR NEVER!!!

    • Aj Nagra says:

      yes. we deserve a better arena. I hope they get this done so we can move forward and one day expect All-Stars to be held in Sacramento ! #GoKings