By Tony Bizjak and Dale Kasler firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW YORK - Kings co-owner George Maloof said today the team will likely ask the NBA for permission to move to Anaheim if fellow NBA owners are "comfortable" with the idea.
But a somber-looking Maloof, interviewed after making a presentation before the NBA Board of Governors, said a relocation to Anaheim isn't etched in stone.
"Nothing is a sure thing until it is voted on," he said. He said the Maloofs plan to talk with their fellow NBA owners again Friday.
Earlier, he had said the Maloofs were certain to formally apply for relocation to Anaheim on Monday if they felt NBA owners would be receptive to the move. The deadline for filing the application is Monday.
The Maloofs have been in serious negotiations for months with Anaheim officials. Their presentation to NBA owners came hours after the Kings played their season finale at a sold-out Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento.
Meanwhile, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson told reporters in New York today, "Let me be very clear, the stakes are high. This community is fighting to save its team."
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Johnson was preparing to address NBA owners later today on Sacramento's viability as an NBA city. He said Sacramento has raised a considerable amount of money in the past two weeks in corporate sponsorships, but he declined to say how much.
"If the Maloofs are willing to do it, we'd love to have them here," he said. If not, "we'd like to let NBA owners know we are committed to being an NBA city. I think we have a compelling case to present today." He believes Sacramento can attract another team if the Kings leave. Before Wednesday night's season finale at Power Balance Pavilion, he said, "I just don't believe it's the last game here, that's the bottom line."
Separately, officials from Anaheim - including Mayor Tom Tait and Honda Center arena manager Henry Samueli - spoke to NBA owners about Anaheim's attractiveness. Tait, in brief comments to reporters, said he stressed that Orange County is a separate market from Los Angeles, fully capable of supporting a team on its own.
It's believed that several owners are opposed to putting a third team in the Los Angeles market. The Kings would need a majority vote of all owners to get the move approved. The vote would likely come this summer or fall. Jerry Buss, the L.A. Lakers' owner, is widely believed to be lobbying against the Anaheim move.
Donald Sterling, the L.A. Clippers' owner, declined to be interviewed. Mark Cuban, the outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner, said he doesn't know yet how he'd vote.
PHOTO CREDIT: Five Kings fans Show up at the St. Regis Hotel to support Kevin Johnson and tell Maloofs to stay. Tony Bizjak, Sacramento Bee.
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