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Ron Burkle spoke with David Stern again before Thursday's Sacramento Kings announcements

The man who will lead the way on developing a new arena in downtown Sacramento spoke with the NBA commissioner just before the mayor's speech.

Scott Halleran

I take it that Ron Burkle doesn't like to waste his time. Given that he remains closely involved in Sacramento's bid to buy the Kings and build a new downtown arena, that speaks well to our city's chances, yes? Here's something else to add to that, from The Bee's arena dream team:

According to a source close to the deal, Burkle spoke Thursday with NBA Commissioner David Stern, who encouraged him to remain committed to the process.

That's not nothing. Before the announcement, Burkle wanted to check in to see whether this thing still had a shot. And he came away encouraged. That's something.

The Bee also reveals that Darius Anderson, Burkle's associate and someone who has quietly been a linchpin in everything the city has pulled off over the past two years, participated with JMA Ventures in the purchase of the Downtown Plaza, where an arena is now planned. An arena there is also expected to be cheaper than one at the Railyards, just $400 million to construct. The city last year committed $255 million, a number that could change based on the calculus of parking spaces within walking distance of the Plaza vs. the Railyards. Can Burkle handle the rest?

Asked if Burkle was confident he could fill the gap between what the city can commit to an arena and the final price tag, a source said "that is not going to be an issue." The source said Burkle has limited partners in the deal, a group that could include celebrities and former professional athletes.

Your very serious questions about the legitimacy of Sacramento's efforts are becoming ever more absurd.