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NBA considers Kings’ fate

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson discusses a Thursday morning phone call that drew him from the stage at a groundbreaking event.

The National Basketball Association apparently continued weighing Sacramento and Anaheim as markets for the Kings Thursday.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson jumped off a stage to take a phone call at a groundbreaking ceremony for railyards railroad track relocation Thursday morning. He later said he wouldn’t comment on whether the call came from NBA Commissioner David Stern.

Shortly after finishing the call, Johnson told reporters he didn’t have any word on a Kings decision, from either Stern or Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett, who chairs the league’s Relocation Committee.

"I have not gotten an update," said Johnson, who described the call as "private." "I haven’t heard from Clay Bennett."

Johnson said he believes the Relocation Committee met Wednesday. NBA representatives also reportedly had a conference call with the Maloofs and Anaheim Arena Management officials Wednesday. NBA officials would not confirm either the meeting or the call. Anaheim city officials weren’t involved in the phone call. Kings representatives and Anaheim Arena Management could not be reached for comment.

However, the mayor said he was aware NBA representatives are "still talking to both sides" before making a decision that’s expected to be announced by Monday. That’s also the deadline for the Kings’ owners, the Maloofs, to file a relocation request with the NBA.

The mayor has invited regional elected officials back for an update on the Kings at 11 a.m. Friday at the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, 1415 L St.

NBA officials won’t comment on whether the Maloofs still have a choice about staying in Sacramento for at least a year following a successful signature collection drive by politically connected Sacramentans.

A firm hired by Sacramento political consultant Rob Stutzman and former City Councilman Robbie Waters on behalf of the Committee to Save the Kings said this week enough signatures have been gathered to stop Anaheim from issuing $75 million in bonds to help the Kings move for at least a year. The bonds can’t be issued until approved by voters in a special election or the next scheduled election in June 2012.

On Thursday, the sentiment and uncertainty in Anaheim echoed that of Sacramento. Officials in both cities used nearly the same words to say they’ve done everything they can and now are just waiting for a decision.

"You can’t do any more than we’ve done," Johnson said, standing in the railyards near what could be the future site of a new arena. "It’s in the league’s hands at this point."

 

Suzanne Hurt is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @SuzanneHurt. 

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