As the saying goes: In for a dime, in for a dollar. For Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who has committed nearly all of his political capital on keeping the Kings in Sacramento, his latest efforts to keep the team in Sacramento despite news of a sales to Seattle proves that he may be in too far to stop fighting.
With a sale already confirmed for the 65 percent owners share held by the Maloof Family, Mayor Johnson has one last bite at the apple. That chance will come before the NBA Board of Governors, the group of owners from the other NBA franchises.
“When it comes to keeping the team in our community, Sacramento is playing to win,” said Mayor Johnson in a statement after news broke of a confirmed deal between the Seattle Ownership Group and the Maloof Family. He went on to describe his laser-like focus on keeping the Kings.
At a City Hall news conference on Tuesday, Mayor Johnson laid out a path forward for the city as the years old fight to secure a long-term future for the team approached its final chapter. Central to his plan is the group of 19 local business people, all of whom are interested in playing a role in the King’s future.
Originally, the Mayor had hoped to find three to five people willing to buy-into the local ownership group for $1 million each. In just a few days, however, 19 had signed on board.
Now, the City and the ownership group are looking to recruit an equity partner to provide the largest chunks of funding.
The offer from the Seattle Owners Group is estimated to be in excess of $340 million.
Aside from the Strong Mayor initiative, Mayor Johnson’s other major policy focus was working with the Maloofs to secure an arena deal for Sacramento. Although plagued by fits and starts, eventually a deal was struck. Then the Maloofs reneged, leaving the city and its residents frustrated and betrayed.
The Mayor then adopted a stance that would ostracize the Maloofs, essentially exposing his thoughts of them personally, claiming they never acted in good faith, that they had been deceitful, and couldn’t be partners with the community.
As the saga unfolded, the Maloofs reportedly expressed their intent to disregard any purchase group that was interested in keeping the team in Sacramento.
However, through his professional basketball career and efforts he made to build a new arena, Mayor Johnson’s relationship with David Stern provided one last chance. The Mayor has until Mid-April to finalize a counter offer and present it to the Board of Governors.