SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Kings co-owner Joe Maloof said Friday that his family is still deciding whether to move the franchise to Anaheim or stay in California's capital city.
Maloof told The Associated Press that no decision has been made and he's "as anxious as anybody" to find out if Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson can deliver on his promises for more sponsorship support and finally finance a plan for a new arena.
"There's been no decision made," Maloof said. "As far as we're concerned, we're still looking at our options."
The Kings have until May 2 to request permission to relocate, and a majority vote by owners are needed to approve the move. While Johnson has become increasingly optimistic that the team will remain in Sacramento next season, the Maloofs still want to know more information about the region's proposals.
Part of that started to filter out this week.
Johnson wrapped up two days of meetings with NBA relocation committee chairman and Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett and other league representatives in Sacramento on Friday. Johnson's desperate pitch to league owners a week earlier in New York was enough for NBA Commissioner David Stern to send out the "fact-finding" team, and his pitch when they arrived was enough to sway other league officials back to Sacramento next week to learn more.
"I don't know that Kevin Johnson's meeting in New York swayed the NBA one way or another, but I think that the NBA next week is going to go into Sacramento to verify a lot of the promises Kevin Johnson made to the board," Maloof said. "There were various sponsorship promises and a promise to show the board, once and for all, how a new arena not only will be planned, but financed."
The mayor said he has secured more than $9.2 million in commitments for new advertising, ticket purchases and other financial support from regional businesses and other backers. He said that would help the Kings next season and allow the city more time to complete a plan to build — and finance — a new arena.
Johnson even dropped Bennett off at the airport and said the league's relocation committee chairman — who moved the Seattle SuperSonics to Oklahoma City three years ago — was impressed with Sacramento's latest presentation.
"They just said to us we delivered on what we were supposed to do," Johnson said.
Wilson reported from San Diego.