Kings, NBA Reach Agreement On New Arena In Sacramento





LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.– The fourth-quarter rally led by LeBron James in the 61st NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night was impressive, but not quite enough.

On Monday afternoon, Mayor Kevin Johnson, a three-time former All-Star himself, showed how to close the deal in announcing a handshake deal with the Maloof family that will build a new downtown arena and keep the Kings in Sacramento.

“I really want to jump up and down right now, because I’m so excited,” said a smiling Johnson, standing in a hallway of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where the sides had been meeting for the past two days.

“It’s a new day for Sacramento.  We’ve all been working around the clock to get to this point and it’s going to be a defining moment for our community. We have the framework of an agreement going forward.”

According to Joe Maloof, his family will make an upfront contribution of $73-million to the $387-million arena project. George Maloof said that the family will contribute roughly another $75-million over the life of the agreement.  The additional money will be funded by a surcharge on tickets for arena events.

“Our family is just so excited,” said Joe Maloof.  “We have a framework for a deal.  We always said we wanted to stay in Sacramento and now here’s our opportunity.”

That opportunity hardly seemed likely less than a year ago when talks between the Maloofs and the city were not fruitful and the family began to entertain offers to relocate the team to Anaheim, Calif.

The sides were working under a March 1 deadline set by the NBA in order for the details of a deal to be reached or the league would have cleared a path for relocation.

“(The Maloofs) have been a part of the glory years of Sacramento,” Johnson said. “They’ve been part of the ups and downs and they said that they always wanted to be in Sacramento,” Johnson said.  “They are the ones that decided not to file for relocation last May.  Had they filed, we wouldn’t be in this position. But they said they were going to give us a year.”

When the Sacramento city council votes, as expected, to approve the deal on March 6, it will likely dash the hopes of not only Anaheim, but Seattle as well.  NBA commissioner David Stern had said over the weekend that a new ownership group for the New Orleans Hornets is expected to be approved soon, eliminating them for potential relocation, and the league has no plans for expansion beyond its current 30 teams.

“I think when we left Sacramento and came to Orlando, you guys asked me how close were we,” Johnson said.  “I thought it was a free throw and you need to make two free throws.  I think the city made the first free throw and the Maloof family made the second free throw.  It’s game-over, so our community should be really, really excited.”

Both sides said Stern was a driving force in the bringing the deal to a successful conclusion in the final days and the commissioner said that was the mandate given to him by the league’s owners.

“From an NBA perspective, the owners … authorized me to be as supportive as we can possibly be in this process so that we could cement the future of the NBA in Sacramento.  I’ve had the great pleasure, tuxedo and all, of opening up two arenas and I’m looking forward to opening up a third in Sacramento.

“That was my hope last April when it came to a head. That’s what we’ve spent a year doing. There have been some who suggested it was a fool’s errand, but I don’t think any of us felt the least bit foolish.  We think this was a worthy cause, a worthy goal and if you bang your head against the wall enough, you get good results.”

Johnson said his confidence grew during the day-long negotiations on Sunday.

“They’ve said all along that they wanted to be in Sacramento and we just had to put a deal together that made sense to them,” he said.  “When I heard them say that yesterday, that just gave me the certainty that there was a sincere effort on everyone’s part to be in Sacramento.”

Johnson characterized the deal as “something bigger than basketball,” a spur to the renewal of downtown Sacramento.

Stern said the agreement would lead to Sacramento having an NBA celebration like the one that just concluded in Orlando.

“We’re talking about hotel stock right now and we’re working on it,” he said.  “We’ll turn downtown into a festival of All-Star Weekend eventually.”

Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof literally shed tears of joy at the announcement, taking nearly a minute to compose himself before TV cameras.

“I think it’s great for our community,” he said. “I’m glad that it’s finally coming to an end after 13 years.”

31 Comments

  1. Justin says:

    Sac town the Mac town

  2. mattman says:

    A huge victory (pending another vote) for small market NBA franchises. This move proves that small markets have the necessary resources to support NBA teams, and are willing to do whatever it takes to keep their franchises. Hopefully the Kings front office will be smart enough to make the right personnel decisions with current and future players, and in a few years, maybe the Kings will be back in the playoff race.

  3. BFoulds says:

    Seriously? You made a hang time blog to congradulate Sacremento (good job) but the first liner is about LeBron’s performance in the all star game? Nobody gives a flying flip about the all star game in this blog much less LeBron. Can you leave that dude alone for once? So sad that these blogs can’t go without mentioning some off topic BS which is totally unrelated to the actual blog.

  4. Drew says:

    As a resident of Sacramento County and a longtime fan of the team since they arrived in 1985, this is huge, although far from a done deal. One more major hurdle with the Sacramento City Council vote next Tuesday, then it will be official. While there has been a great deal of opposition/cynicism towards the Entertainment/Sports Complex, it will benefit the region in the long run as an economic catalyst. The area the arena will be constructed in is a former railyard that has been cleaned up and is awaiting redevelopment. There is a block of buildings that used to be the Sacramento Locomotive Works that are expected to be redeveloped into bars, restaurants, and retail shops which will mean jobs for the region, along with the construction jobs and jobs at the arena itself (which there will likely be double the jobs at Power Balance Pavilion). The land around PBP will be sold, as well as the building as a means of revenue for the Maloof Family to make their contribution to the new ESC. As for the building, it will either be demolished or re-used much like ARCO Arena I, which is now an office building that houses Sprint and the CA Department of Consumer Affairs (what was once center court is now a courtyard, as the building was divided into four different buildings). Hopefully along with the new development in Downtown Sacramento, the team will be able to compete a little better in its ability to attract players, plus the team will need to be competitive in order to help ticket sales at the new facility (would also be nice to see the Kings re-brand with a new logo and colors, like a return to the royal blue, but with black, and silver).

  5. simas says:

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY

  6. Nesha says:

    Who is the owner of Arco Arena and what happens with it? I mean, I don’t know why Sacramento couldn’t stay in it?

    • Ed says:

      Because the arena is very old and structurally is weakening. It cannot house new modern shows because the arena footprint is too small. There are no vistor locker rooms, there are only 2 spots to back up trucks at any one time and when you are trying to put on big shows that wont work. The building is nearly 30 years old and connot be renovated without tearing it down completely.

  7. Johnny Damm says:

    As a former Sonics Season Ticket Holder I applaud the city of Sacramento for doing what the city of Seattle should have done and what they will have to do eventually anyway. Congrats……GO SONICS!

  8. Vladimir says:

    Hvala Bogu! Uzećemo titulu kadtad! Go Kings, Serbia Loves you!

  9. jfada says:

    YESSSSSS. I am soo happy to hear that my Kings aren’t leaving, I was devastated when I thought I was losing my team….EFFFFF YYYYEEEAAAYAAAH!!

  10. Kisses says:

    Sacramento deserves this. Despite some losing seasons for a few years now, they still have the most incredible fans.

  11. haha says:

    yah!now I’ll will go out and purchase a KINGS jersey…but which one?EVENS OR BIG CUZZ ?

  12. Abdiwali says:

    We need a team in Seattle NBA. Mr. Stern please make it happen before you Retire.

  13. Ryan says:

    Incredible. This is a great day for Northern California. Seattle DOES deserve a team… just not ours. All Seattle basketball fans are dying for a team to come back, but they understand how it feels to have a team taken away more than anyone, and most Seattle fans did not want to get a team back by poaching it from another city. I’ll be rooting for Seattle in their bid to get a team back in the Pacific Northwest.

  14. Belizeboy says:

    Was the first line of this story really needed? These writers do anything to take a stab at James.

  15. Hugo says:

    YESSSSHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. JDH says:

    NOOOOOOOO! I wanted to see a team in Seattle or Anaheim. So disappointed!

  17. Zack says:

    WOOOOOOOOOO YAAAAAY! SACRA-MENTO!!!!!

  18. prix says:

    Lebron 4th quarter run is impressive but not enough..what´s in your head Fran..your topic is about Sacramento Arena, where did you get that…Lebron hater!!!!…how about your Kobe got some blood from Wade because he makes dirty plays first…good for him..

  19. Aj Nagra says:

    Thank you God, Kevin Johnson, and David Stern for all of their support.. #GoKings

  20. unknown says:

    now we have to wait for the Hornets to come to Seattle … :)

  21. buzzkillington says:

    Bring back the Sonics!

  22. paul says:

    Congradulations to the Maloof Family, the king have managed to put a lot of young talent together and now secure it’s future in sacramento. The future for the kings is look bright.

  23. hc says:

    NOOOOO!!! I wanted them in SEATTLE!!!!! NNOOOOOO!!!

  24. Horace says:

    Dude….Sonics……

  25. Travis says:

    What great news!!!! Sacramento needs this

  26. LakersWillWin says:

    Great News. The fans in Sactown deserve this.

  27. Andrei says:

    YES!! Purple stays!..this is great news indeed..

  28. Rafael says:

    YESSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!