Mar 30, 2011, 2:01 AM EDT
The Maloof brothers now have done pretty much everything but drive the moving trucks up to the Kings offices.
Tuesday night one of the final hurdles in the path of the Kings relocating to Anaheim was cleared when the Anaheim City Council unanimously approved a lease for an NBA tenant in the Honda Center and to issue $75 million in bonds. That money will be repaid by the increased revenue from an NBA team in Anaheim, the Associated Press reported.
That team would be the Kings. While the NBA owners still need to approve it — and despite the protestations of the Lakers and Clippers — there is little now standing between the Kings and the move. The only way this falls apart is a vote by the owners saying the Kings have to pay a steep relocation fee to the Lakers and Clippers. But don’t bet on it.
The bonds are backed by three companies of Henry Samueli — owner of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks and the guy who operates the Honda Center. Anaheim city officials were insistent that Orange County taxpayers could not be on the hook for the money. About $25 million will go to facility upgrades (better locker rooms and a practice court), about $50 million to help pay for relocation costs. Or pay part of the roughly $77 million they still owe the city of Sacramento from a previous loan.
The Kings have until April 18 to file relocation papers with the league. The owners will get together a couple of days in April to vote on the move. But all that seems more and more like a formality at this point.
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