With all the news swirling about the Sacramento Kings possibly being sold to the Hansen-Ballmer group in Seattle, Mayor Kevin Johnson today held a press conference to discuss the situation.
Here are the highlights. Quotes may not be exactly verbatim as I was writing them down as the press conference was happening:
- "Today is a significant day because for the first time it appears the Sacramento Kings are officially up for sale".
- Sacramento is a proven NBA market and has supported the Kings faithfully for 28 years.
- "I will make every effort to insure that a potential buyer(s) are made available to keep this team in Sacramento."
- "We've always said we're in control of our destiny and feel this gives us the opportunity to do so"
- NBA has 100% market share in Sacramento.
- "We need to put ourselves in a position to find an ownership group to buy and keep the team here"
- "We're going to do our part to be competitive" in regards to offers.
- "We've heard from a number of people, if the team was for sale they would be interested in buying."
- It will be cheaper to remain in Sacramento for a potential owner, KJ cited the fact that there is no relocation fee as one reason.
- KJ says he's speculating a bit, but thinks the deadline to operate under is March 1st since that's the relocation deadline.
- KJ brought up the San Francisco Giants model from when it appeared they were heading to Florida of a local presence funded by outside interests rising up to save the team as something Sacramento would pursue.
- KJ has reached out to both David Stern and the Maloofs today but has not heard back from either party yet.
- KJ never thought Virginia Beach deal was going to go through.
- KJ says that any potential deal would have to be "in writing." "A lesson learned" he added with a smirk.
- Repeated that this was bigger than basketball, and doesn't want to see another business leave Sacramento like Campbell's Soup and Comcast have so recently. The Kings leaving would immediately cost the city around 600-1,000 jobs.
- KJ says he cannot identify potential buyers but there have been more than one and that city will "fight like crazy" and talks will intensify after today's news. Any potential investor in Sacramento has some sort of local presence, keep the team here, and agree to arena deal.
- KJ also adds that he has had consistent conversations with Ron Burkle, but made it clear that Burkle was not the only person who he had been in contact with regarding potentially buying the Kings.
- Mayor added that AEG is still on board with the arena plan that was constructed back in April.
Today is a significant day for our community because for the first time it appears that the Kings are for sale. This is significant because for the past 27 years the community has staunchly supported both the NBA and the Kings. Last year, the City presented a deal that was approved by the NBA that would keep the Kings in Sacramento, increase the value of the franchise, and create additional jobs and economic growth in Sacramento and the region as a whole. Following in the steps of our previous efforts, I plan on making every effort to identify a potential buyer that would ensure the Kings remain in Sacramento.