Things Getting Testy Between Kings and Sacramento

by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

Not too shockingly, a bit of nastiness and political gamesmanship is taking place between the Sacramento Kings and the city they currently call home.

Sacramento politicians may be resigned to the hoops team moving to Anaheim, but they don’t want them to bolt town until they’ve repaid a city-backed $77 million loan.

That’s a lot of scratch, and it’s got both sides feeling rather ornery.

With a thinly-veiled threat to get lawyers and judges involved, the city of Sacramento wrote a letter to Anaheim officials, asking them to stop negotiating with the Maloofs to move the team.

The Sac Bee reports:

City officials, hinting they might go to court, called on the city of Anaheim to stop negotiating a deal to bring the Kings to Orange County. In a terse letter Monday to Anaheim officials, Assistant City Manager John Dangberg said Anaheim was ignoring the “blighting impacts” that luring the Kings from Sacramento would have on the capital city. The move would cause “irreparable harm,” the letter said.

If, however, Anaheim “insists on continuing the negotiations,” the letter said, that city must require the team to honor its debt to Sacramento.

Naturally, Kings ownership was less than pleased with the tactic, and said they’ll pay off all debts prior to moving: “It is interfering with our business,” co-owner George Maloof said. “We’re going to take every measure possible to protect ourselves. We have no intention of leaving that town without paying our debt. For someone to imply that we are not going to pay our debts, it’s wrong, it’s ridiculous.”

There’s no telling how this will eventually play out, but one gets the feeling that the relationship between Sacramento and its pro basketball team will not end on amicable terms.