In yet another sign he is operating under the assumption the Kings are leaving, Mayor Kevin Johnson told reporters today that he has arranged to speak with the former mayor of Charlotte, N.C., about how that city dealt with losing an NBA franchise - then getting a team back.
"There are things that we can do to prepare for life after the Kings, if they do in fact go to Anaheim," the mayor said.
Charlotte had the Hornets until 2002, when the team moved to New Orleans. Right after that move, the NBA promised Charlotte would get an expansion team two years later. It's hard to imagine that kind of promise being offered here until a new arena is built.
Still, Johnson wants to talk with former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory about how Sacramento can "keep our spirits up" and get a new arena built should the Kings leave.
The Charlotte Bobcats play in a downtown arena that opened in 2005. It cost an estimated $260 million and was built with the help of public funding.
"That could be a telling city for us to study when it comes to our potential predicament in Sacramento," Johnson said.
Meanwhile, city staff is examining any legal documents tied to the Kings to make sure there are no loopholes allowing the team to move without paying off nearly $70 million it owes the city.
"I want to make sure the city is paid in whole," the mayor said.