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Old 04-22-2011, 09:51 PM   #20 (permalink)
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NBA officials now expect the Kings to play next season in Sacramento, league executives told The Times on Friday.

Whether the team, which was about to seek permission to move to Honda Center in Anaheim, stays in Sacramento beyond next season remains to be decided.

That will depend on city and county officials and local businesses redeeming the pledges made by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson before the NBA's relocation committee last week in New York, including support for a new downtown arena.

Commissioner David Stern declined Friday to compare the cities' packages.

"That's for the committee to decide," he said from New York.

However, Stern confirmed the NBA's continuing interest in Sacramento's offer.

"Mayor Johnson made certain representations about community support that he had secured," Stern said.

"The committee thought it would be prudent to send an NBA task force out to Sacramento to verify those commitments.

"And that is now what's being done."

The NBA officials agree that if the Kings live up to all of their pledges, the team is expected to stay in Sacramento long-term.

Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof told the Sacramento Bee that he and his brothers have not made a decision.

"That is not what we are saying," Maloof said. "We haven't said what we are going to say. We'll let you know when we know."

After a decade of failed negotiations for a new arena, with Stern involved in the most recent talks, washing his hands when they crashed, Sacramento officials had lost credibility with the Maloofs, as well as with NBA officials.

However, when Johnson presented his lavish package with the Is dotted, the Ts crossed, the timetable specific and the funding package appearing to be credible, everything changed.

The officials agree that there was no problem with Anaheim's offer, or any questions about Honda Center's suitability.

Nevertheless, when Sacramento's bid came in, Anaheim became, as one official put it, "immaterial."

More NBA staffers are expected to visit Sacramento next week to pore over the details.
Sacramento Kings: NBA's Kings expected to remain in Sacramento - latimes.com
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