by Jonathan Santiago / @itsJONsantiago
A disappointed Johnson addressed media Thursday in a press conference. He reassured the public that he and the Sacramento City Council were not going to give the Kings up without a fight. However, he did say that if the Kings do decide to move, the city would continue to “push forward with a new entertainment sports complex.”
“I just think in my opinion Sacramento deserves better than this,” said Johnson, who was upset to learn of the Maloof’s request to the League via a Google Alert.
When asked if he believed the Maloofs were using Sacramento as leverage in discussions with Anaheim, the Mayor refused to speculate.
” We want to be dealt with like an adult,” he said. “We certainly understand financial challenges that organization is dealing with. But at the same token, you cannot tell me this community and this market is not a great market for the NBA.”
He also added that he has conversations with David Stern every two or three weeks, emphasizing that he has an active relationship with the commissioner. Based on his rapport with Stern, Johnson thinks that the commissioner would agree that Sacramento is a feasible home for an NBA franchise.
Speaking from what he would believe to be Stern’s position, Johnson said the following:
” It is hard for our franchises to compete economically if you don’t have those type of facilities with luxury boxes, suites and all the things that go with that. If you could figure out how to get that done, then why would the Kings or anybody not want to be here in Sacramento. Quite honestly that’s a part of what the Maloof’s frustration is. Now how much they have to blame and what responsibility they have and all that, we can negotiate.”
And even if the Maloofs part ways with the city, the retired NBA point guard believes Sacramento has proven itself worthy to Stern of courting another franchise, based on the successful run enjoyed by the Kings during the last decade.
“If they do leave,” Johnson began, speaking again from what he felt would be the commissioner’s perspective. “I would still (encourage) you to show that you can build a new entertainment sports complex and be ready for the next opportunity that comes your way.”
The Sacramento arena development team is still waiting for financial documents from the Maloofs to begin their own feasibility analysis. And Johnson hopes the Kings owners, who are supposed to hand over those documents today, follow through.
“If that doesn’t take place,” the Mayor said. “Then I think actions will speak louder than words at that point.”
Johnson has meetings scheduled with the Maloofs and David Stern on Tuesday, coincidentally the same date as the League’s relocation filing deadline.
Listen to KJ’s entire press conference below. Audio and presser material courtesy of KFBK radio in Sacramento.