Four days before the Sacramento Kings' deadline to ask the NBA for permission to leave town, Mayor Kevin Johnson will plead the city's case to the league's team owners.
Johnson said Thursday he will address the league's Board of Governors in New York on April 14. The Kings are negotiating a move to Anaheim and have until April 18 to ask for permission to relocate.
The mayor's priority is to explain the importance of the Kings to Sacramento and promote efforts to build a new arena.
Should the Kings seek a move, the league's team owners will decide in a vote later this year whether to accept that application. Past relocation requests from other NBA franchises have been approved overwhelmingly.
Beyond urging that the Kings stay here, Johnson wants to convince the league that Sacramento should be first in line for a new NBA franchise.
"The opportunity to speak straight to the NBA is a huge step for our community," the mayor wrote on his blog Thursday. "It puts our destiny exactly where it belongs: back in our hands."
Johnson said he is planning on bringing "a contingent of Sacramentans with me who can speak to the seriousness of our efforts to build a new arena and support a team."
The mayor is expected to discuss the city-sponsored development team analyzing an arena project and promote a grassroots fan campaign that began this week.