Regional meeting on Kings expected Friday
Regional leaders are expected to meet Friday for an update on efforts to keep the Sacramento Kings here, but talk about financing a new arena will be postponed until the National Basketball Association announces whether the team will stay, it was reported Wednesday.
An invitation to a status update meeting was sent to elected officials late Wednesday afternoon. The meeting is tentatively set for 10 a.m. Friday across from the Capitol, at the headquarters for the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, 1415 L St., sources said.
The meeting is being held to inform leaders from the six-county region, city of Sacramento and state on progress made with the NBA this week.
The meeting will include an update about the discussion Tuesday between NBA staff and 30 businesses that agreed to make deposits on more than $10.2 million in financial support. The meeting will also include anything else that develops with the NBA Thursday or Friday.
The league is expected to make a decision by Monday about where the team will be based for the next year. That’s also the deadline for the Kings’ owners, the Maloofs, to file a relocation request with the NBA. No reports of an early decision have surfaced yet.
Officials won’t discuss how to finance a new sports and entertainment center in downtown Sacramento and the possible creation of a joint powers authority unless the NBA makes a decision by then.
"We put (talk about financing an arena) on hold right now because we’re trying to give the NBA time to make their decision on whether the Kings will be staying here," said Yuba City Mayor John Dukes, one of the effort’s organizers. "Nothing is being done right now until we hear from the NBA."
The NBA’s Relocation Committee, chaired by Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett, will meet by Monday to make a decision following an NBA fact-finding mission that began here last week.
Mayor Kevin Johnson’s office hadn’t gotten any word on a decision by late Wednesday afternoon. NBA officials would not comment on when a decision is expected or when the committee meeting had been scheduled.
In recent weeks, Kings fans, elected officials and business leaders from throughout the area rallied support to keep the team rather than lose the Kings to Anaheim.
The effort to build a new arena may expand to seven counties after Nevada County officials expressed interest in joining an effort that includes representatives from Sacramento, the six-county region, the state and federal government. The six counties in the region are Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado, Yuba and Sutter.
"It’s good that (more) people are wanting in," Dukes said.
Also this week, a political consultant group hired by politically connected Sacramentans said enough signatures have been gathered to stop Anaheim from issuing $75 million in bonds to help the Kings move for at least a year. However, billionaire Henry Samueli, who manages Anaheim’s Honda Center, could possibly replace the bond issue with a personal investment.
The bonds can’t be issued by Anaheim until approved by voters in June 2012 or in an expensive special election. The firm, Arno Political Consultants, was hired by Rob Stutzman, a Sacramento political consultant, and Robbie Waters, a former city councilman, on behalf of the Committee to Save the Kings.
NBA officials would not comment on the impact of the signature drive Wednesday.
Representatives from throughout the region were brought together last week by Johnson to show public support for keeping the Kings and building a new arena to replace Power Balance Pavilion. The mayor’s office and those regional leaders will be involved in the effort to finance a new arena.
The effort will gather information from an arena feasibility study being done by Colorado arena builder ICON Venue Group and local developer David Taylor.
If the Kings remain in Sacramento, the group will initially focus on setting up a joint powers authority that will likely need to be approved by each of the counties, Dukes said.
"If we can get everyone in the region to agree on it, I think we’ll move forward with it," he said.
Editorial Note: This is an updated version of an earlier story.
Suzanne Hurt is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @SuzanneHurt.