Sacramento fans could breathe a brief sight of relief. The sun has not quite set on the Sacramento Kings.
In what many thought would be a formal, more procedural meeting of the NBA Board of Governors turned into an impassioned plea and reasonable plan from
Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson to keep the team in Sacramento. While George and Gavin Maloof seem adamant that they do not want to sell the team, the presence of a potential new owner and Johnson’s presentation helped to persuade David Stern and the Board of Governors, including chairman of the relocation committee, Clay Bennett (insert ironic joke here), to extend the Maloof’s deadline to apply for relocation into the first week of May. The deadline was originally set for Monday, April 18.
Stern specifically said the extension was not based on the presence of a potential new owner. It was granted more to evaluate the new proposal from the city and the points the Maloofs drawn out.
By all reports though, the potential of billionaire Ron Burkle has gotten Stern’s attention. As Sam Amick tweeted: “Burkle been working on this for weeks. When KJ told Stern he had a possible buyer, the commish made crack about it being a local car dealer. He dropped Burkle’s name, and source says Stern went quiet. ‘You’ve got Burkle?'”
Burkle has officially expressed interest in buying the Kings with the intent of keeping them in Sacramento as the link above to Sactown Royalty reveals. As part of the city’s presentation to the Board of Governors, Johnson presented an alternative plan to build a new stadium and replace Power Balance Pavilion. It is unclear what that plan might be or whether it could actually work.
But it kept basketball in Sacramento alive just a little bit longer.
As for Burkle, if the Maloofs ever did agree to sell, he is extremely committed to keeping the team in Sacramento. The only problem is the Maloofs saw their father own the Rockets and give it up. They realize how difficult it is to get back into the NBA ownership club. And it is a club the Maloofs very much want to be a part of. Even if things will not work in Sacramento, they may not be willing to give up that membership.
The only way it seems right now, that the Maloofs sell would be if the Board of Governors block their move. Right now only Dr. Jerry Buss of the Lakers and Donald Sterling of the Clippers are firmly against the move.
This extension of the deadline for the Maloofs, any way you cut it, is a good sign for Sacramento fans.
Photo via AP/DayLife.