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Sunday, April 17, 2011

NBA gives Kings more time to file for relocation

AP

NEW YORK — The NBA has granted the owners of the Sacramento Kings an extension until May 2 to file paperwork requesting a relocation to Anaheim, Calif.

News photo
Issues to confront: NBA commissioner David Stern listens to a question at a news conference following a Board of Governors meeting on Friday in New York. AP PHOTO

Joe and Gavin Maloof were supposed to submit the documents by Monday, but the league's owners decided to delay that after hearing from Anaheim and Sacramento officials during two days of meetings that ended Friday.

Commissioner David Stern said the league wanted to "do a little bit more fact finding" after Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson told owners Thursday of additional revenue that had been identified, of the city's commitment to build a new arena, and revealed an interested potential buyer in Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle.

"So the committee thought that it would be a good idea to do a little bit more fact-finding and determine how this will ultimately play out," Stern said. "There's no agenda here; just to make sure that something as important to all parties as the transfer of a team to another city and the attempts of that city to keep that team was fully understood, fully briefed."

The Maloofs insist they won't sell, and Stern said the sale of the Kings, or another team to Burkle that would be moved to Sacramento if the Kings left, is "not a high priority on our agenda."

The relocation committee headed by Oklahoma City owner Clay Bennett, who moved the SuperSonics from Seattle three years ago, will research some of the assertions made by Johnson and the potential for success in Anaheim while competing against the Lakers and Clippers. The panel also will recommend a relocation fee the Maloofs would have to pay should they move.

Though eyebrows were raised with Bennett's appointment because of the Sonics' contentious departure to his home state of Oklahoma, Stern said there was no conflict and that Bennett had been chosen because he has been active in the Kings' situation and other league business.

Stern said Sacramento's problem was the outdated Power Balance Pavilion, not its market size. Johnson told owners Thursday that the city is committed to building a new entertainment center even if the Kings leave.

Stern seemed dubious, noting that the discussion of a new building in Sacramento is "usually an eye-roller" at the league because there's been no progress toward it for years. But Johnson's meeting also included a report from the group conducting the feasibility study for a new arena that should be completed by next month, and it made enough of an impression for the Maloofs and Bennett to recommend the extension.



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