The Orange County Register reported that David Stern, NBA Comissioner said the deadline extension was "jointly proposed" to him by the Maloofs, Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett, chairman of the relocation committee, and Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, chairman of the NBA Board of Governors. The commissioner said committee members will go to Sacramento in the coming days to speak with Johnson and community leaders about "availability of certain inducements" the mayor outlined Thursday to try to get the team to stay.
Johnson said investors have pledged $7 million in the past week, he gave a progress report about an ongoing feasibility study for the construction and financing of a new arena and he revealed that supermarket tycoon Ron Burkle was interested in buying the Kings or helping bring a team to Sacramento if the team relocates.
Stern dismissed the Burkle revelation, saying "it's not high on our agenda," but said the committee wanted to hear more about arena plan, even though he sounded skeptical because of his knowledge of the city's repeated failures to secure funding for a new arena.
The commissioner made it clear that Sacramento's outdated Power Balance Pavilion, formerly ARCO Arena, is at the crux of the relocation issue.
"The issue first and foremost in Sacramento is whether there's the will and the ability to build a new arena for an NBA team," Stern said. "There is no denying that the arena is an inadequate, on-its-last-legs facility that has had deferred maintenance and has been declared inadequate to host NCAA events and other events."
Stern said that over the years new arena proposals in the state capital have been turned down by the city council, a former mayor, by the voters in a referendum and, most recently, by the Cal-Expo Board that vetoed a proposed land swap that would have moved the State Fair to the arena area so that a new sports and entertainment complex could be built near a downtown railyard.
"So the mayor's vision is for a downtown arena as part of a major redevelopment of 230 acres," Stern said. "You know, we don't know if that's real or a pie-in-the-sky (delusion). We don't know whether we can find that out in a couple of weeks, but we are going to knock ourselves out to do it."