City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

April 18, 2011
NBA will be in Sacramento Thursday to explore Kings' fate

The NBA will be in town Thursday and Friday to discuss recent efforts to keep the Kings and explore Sacramento's viability as a pro basketball city.

Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett and NBA attorney Harvey Benjamin are leading the league's examination of which city - Anaheim or Sacramento - is the best fit for the Kings. Bennett is chair of the NBA's relocation committee.

The Kings have until May 2 to ask the league's permission to move to Anaheim. The deadline was set last week following the NBA Board of Governors meetings during which officials from Sacramento and Anaheim made their cases for the Kings.

League owners were apparently impressed enough by a pitch given by Mayor Kevin Johnson to give Sacramento two weeks. Johnson was joined by Tim Romani of ICON Venue Group, who is helping to study an arena here. The mayor also told the league he had $7 million in corporate sponsorships lined up for an NBA franchise.

At the same time, NBA Commissioner David Stern said league officials were fuzzy with some of the aspects of the Kings' deal with Anaheim, including potential television contracts and upgrades needed to that city's Honda Center arena.

During their stay in Sacramento, Bennett and Benjamin are expected to tour the downtown railyard - the preferred site of a new arena in town - and meet with members of the business community. The pair will also visit Anaheim during their California trip.

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at rlillis@sacbee.com

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