Mar 25, 2011, 2:34 PM EDT
The Honda Center in Anaheim is 34 miles away from Staples Center, which means it may take 30 minutes and it may take two-and-a-half hours to drive there on Los Angeles freeways.
But it’s close enough that the Lakers and Clippers do not want the Kings moving to Anaheim. It just appears they can’t do nothing about it.
Reports have been that the Board of Governors (the owners) vote to extend the Maloofs negotiating period to April 18 was 27-2, with the Lakers and Clippers voting no. Marc Stein reports at ESPN the Lakers and Clippers are having little success in gathering no votes now.
But the Lakers and Clippers would need 14 other teams to oppose the Kings’ relocation when it reaches the voting stage. They will undoubtedly have a few supporters — big-market teams such as Golden State that don’t want to see another franchise move right into their neighborhood as the Kings are planning in Southern California — but one source said there are already strong indications in circulation that the Kings will be able to secure the minimum 16 votes required (and maybe more) to clinch the simple majority needed to ratify any proposed relocation.
It would appear that the best L.A.’s teams can hope for is a hefty relocation fee that could dissuade brothers Joe and Gavin Maloof, who co-own the Kings. Relocation fees in the NBA are “discretionary,” meaning that the fee is established by the league’s Board of Governors and varies from relocation to relocation. The Seattle SuperSonics, for example, paid a $30 million relocation fee when they moved to Oklahoma City. It remains to be seen if the Maloofs are asked to pay more.
It isn’t hard to imagine other owners thinking the Clippers and Jerry Buss’ Lakers — perennially two of the league’s profit makers — don’t need or deserve a big payout for a third team entering the market. (Yes, the Clippers are profitable, very profitable. Low payroll in a big market with big local television revenue and plenty of luxury boxes in house. Why do you think Donald Sterling can run them the way he does, he still makes money so there is no pressure to change.)
This is just another sad sign that the momentum of this move is picking up steam and the fans of Sacramento are going to get screwed. The Anaheim City Council is expected to vote next week on issuing bonds for some renovation of the Honda Center to make it NBA ready, one of the few final hurdles to this deal.
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