Are the NBA’s Sacramento Kings moving to Anaheim, California, the home of Disney land and MLB’s Angels? Possibly, from what is being reported.
According to the NBA.com, Anaheim’s city’s council unanimously approved a $75 million bond deal Tuesday night (March 29) to entice the Sacramento Kings to relocate to Orange County, and given the team’s owners bad blood with officials in Sac-Town in recent weeks, it just may happen.
That is, if both sides come to an agreement during negotiations.
Kings owner Joe Maloof made his first public comment about his franchise’s possible relocation to Anaheim on Monday night (March 28), criticizing a letter sent between the cities’ governments.
Apparently, a letter from Sacramento Assistant City Manager John Dangberg to Anaheim’s city manager asked that negotiations stop, because the move could cause “irreparable harm to the City of Sacramento” if the Kings defaulted on a $73 million loan from the city.
Dangberg called Anaheim’s negotiations with the Kings “bad public policy at a minimum,” asking for contractual assurance the Kings will pay their debt before they get more bonds from Anaheim.
“That letter is completely wrong, and it was uncalled for — below the belt — and it’s a shame it had to come out of his office,” Maloof said in an interview the newspaper, the Orange County Register. “We tried to be classy and not get in arguments in the media, but I (have to) make this comment. We will continue on with our business and do what is best for the viability of the franchise — what’s best for the franchise and what’s best for the league.”
The letter also asked Anaheim not to authorize $75 million in bonds to aid the move, and Maloof wants them to butt out.
“It’s not for the mayor or anybody to interfere with our business,” Maloof added. “That’s what I think they’re doing, and it’s not right. We would appreciate that they not interfere with our business.”
The Anaheim city council twice voted 5-0 for the lease-revenue bond measures, reports NBA.com, and it seems to be welcomed within the city, drawing a round of applause from the audience at its packed City Hall meeting room.
“I am thrilled. A better word is stoked,” Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said.
Tait said that Anaheim is borrowing no money and has no financial risk in the deal. Instead, the city is merely acting as a conduit for a private investment by Henry Samueli, the billionaire owner of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks.
The Maloof family, who own the Kings, have been in private discussions to relocate the team for months, apparently.
However, if they wanna move soon, they must file for relocation with the NBA by April 18 to start the process, which would include a vote among the league’s other owners. Then, they may need to pay a relocation fee to the owners, including possibly hefty payments to the Lakers and Clippers, who share Staples Center 35 miles away.
If the Kings leave this summer, they will owe the city of Sacramento roughly $77 million. But, Maloof says the city doesn’t need to worry about them not paying their debts, because they always have. “We’ve always satisfied our obligations to the City of Sacramento. We’re honest businesspeople, and we have never missed a payment.”
If the Kings move, they are likely to be renamed the Anaheim Royals, said NBA.com.
Whatever happens, Mayor Tait hopes an NBA team comes to Anaheim whether it’s the Kings or another team.
“We’re not there yet,” Tait said. “We set the table for the Kings or, in theory, another NBA team to come to Anaheim, and now we’re waiting for the vote of the NBA owners.”