Mayor Kevin Johnson and state Senate President Darrell Steinberg arrived home today following their presentation to a panel of key NBA owners in New York, during which they made their case for keeping the Kings in Sacramento.
The pair was greeted by a cheering crowd of about 15 Kings fans in Terminal A of Sacramento International Airport. They quickly departed the airport to begin the final two-week push to convince the league to keep the team here and reject a deal the Kings' owners have to sell the franchise to a group in Seattle.
Johnson said "we don't really know yet" what will be asked of the Sacramento contingent by NBA officials over the next two weeks. NBA Commissioner David Stern said Wednesday the league needed time to investigate arena plans and team purchase offers in both Seattle and Sacramento before making a decision over the fate of the Kings.
Johnson said the league would likely conduct "a lot of fact-finding" in the coming days.
"The NBA now has to go back and do its due diligence on the very strong Sacramento agreement," Steinberg said. "We laid out a very strong case on the regulatory front (regarding possible environmental challenges to the project)."
The mayor reiterated that Sacramento had impressed the league.
"We laid out a compelling case," he said. "I know for a fact the NBA does not want to move a franchise."