NBA Commissioner Declares Sacramento Arena Deal Dead

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NBA Commissioner David Stern declared Friday that a deal to build a new arena for the Sacramento Kings has collapsed, and the team’s owners are still focused on a potential move to Anaheim’s Honda Center, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The owners, the Maloof brothers, have been unhappy with the Kings’ current location, the Power Balance Pavilion. They had trademarked the name Anaheim Royals as they considered moving the team, but the Maloofs had decided last year to negotiate with Sacramento to stay in the state’s capital.

Now it appears that Anaheim is back in the picture.

From the Times story:

Stern said Friday a new arena in Sacramento is “not going to happen,” amid major concerns from the Sacramento Kings owners about the financing and political obstacles confronting the project before their desire to have the facility open before the 2015 season.

A basketball official close to the situation but unauthorized to speak publicly said afterward the Kings’ owners’ “focus is still on Anaheim,” and a future relocation to the Honda Center perhaps as soon as the 2013-14 season.

Friday’s development is significant to Anaheim’s cause because Stern has previously strongly pushed to keep the owners in Sacramento.

Yet, the Honda Center is currently in the process of multimillion-dollar upgrades to increase its standing as an NBA-ready facility after Kings owners last year expressed interest in the move south.

At a news conference at the NBA Board of Governors meeting in New York, Stern made no promise about the Kings remaining in Sacramento beyond the 2012-13 season.

“It just wouldn’t pay for me to talk about anything beyond that,” Stern said before thanking Sacramento fans, business leaders, Mayor Kevin Johnson and season-ticket holders.

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait issued a statement Friday afternoon that again expressed the city’s enthusiasm at the prospects of landing an NBA franchise.

“Like most NBA fans I’ve been watching the recent developments with the Kings, and if they do leave Sacramento they should know that we would welcome them here,” the statement read.

“Anaheim is NBA ready. We have great fans and a first-class facility. With more than three million people in Orange County and millions more in the Inland Empire, we have the fan base and the enthusiasm to certainly support a team.”

— ADAM ELMAHREK

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