In the past couple of days the city of Sacramento has been reeling at the news that the Maloofs had officially and publicly come to an agreement to sell the team to the Hansen-Ballmer group in Seattle. Today it was Sacramento's turn to hit back, and Mayor Johnson did that with a press conference today in which he unveiled the first part of his plan to keep the team in Sacramento. The Mayor was joined by the entire Sacramento city council as well as other elected officials from around the region.
At the conference, Johnson unveiled his four-point "Playing to Win" Strategy as follows:
1: Identify and assemble a local ownership group
2: Identify a large equity partner
3: Work out the arena deal with the newly identified ownership group
4: Show the NBA that Sacramento is a great and viable market
Today was all about point 1, as Johnson unveiled the local coalition who would team up with the large equity partner to submit a competitive offer to the NBA. He also repeated that Commissioner David Stern welcomes such a submission. The Mayor said that he had hoped to get 3-5 local members together to put in $1 million each, but after 3 days, ended up with 19.
The 19 local investors are Dale Carlsen, Kevin Nagle, David Taylor, Phil Oates, Ali Youssefi, Brad Jenkins, Dr. Nate Allen, Dr. Aaron Reeves, Steve Ayers, Dorene Dominguez, Michael and Kevin Fahn, Larry Kelley, Rob Miller, Mark Otero, John Stone, Scott Powell, the Tsakopolous Family and two anonymous investors.
As for the big money "whale", Mayor Johnson would not reveal any names, but did say that there are multiple people that the city is in discussions with and that he hoped to be able to reveal the partner by the end of the week.
Regarding a timeline, the Mayor has a couple dates that he's focusing on. The first, and earliest, is March 1st, aka the relocation deadline. It's been widely reported that the team will file for relocation by the March 1st deadline in order to move to Seattle for next season. Mayor Johnson says he wants to have everything in place by March 1st "if not sooner".
"Come April, or before, we're going to submit a fair and competitive offer to the NBA"
After March 1st, the next big dates are April 18th and 19th when the NBA Board of Governors meets. At this point they will hear Mayor Johnson out as well as decide on approving the Seattle sale or relocation. One of the first questions asked of the Mayor at the press conference was why the NBA would block a sale to Seattle. The Mayor replied that it is "unprecedented" for a team to be allowed to relocate after having done everything that the NBA has asked for it. Numerous times he pointed out that each time the NBA came to them with a checklist of things to do, Sacramento came through. This is likely going to be a focal point of KJ's arguments to the Board of Governors.
KJ was also asked about Seattle and their fans. He praised the fan base and notes that they deserve a team, "just not ours".
"This isn't about our city vs. their city. This is about something that's ours, and we're going to do everything we can to make sure Sacramento is the final resting place of the Kings."
"Let the fight continue."
UPDATE 4:13 PM:
Mayor's office just told me 20th local investor commits $1 million to #NBAKings purchase. Tom Lee, former cop/local car wash franchisee— Ryan Lillis (@Ryan_Lillis) January 23, 2013