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Kings owners talk to NBA officials, told they should stay put

Apr 28, 2011, 10:12 AM EDT

George Maloof, Gavin Maloof, Joe Maloof AP

Do the Sacramento Kings owners want to put the other owners resolve to the test?

That’s what it comes down to. The NBA has been on a fact-finding mission and collected pledges on nearly $10 million in new sponsorship money in the Kings stay in Sacramento. The NBA has heard of the new plans for a downtown arena. League officials and other owners seem impressed.

The Maloofs are skeptical of it all, they want to move their team to Anaheim. The land of flowing milk and honey and luxury suite revenue. But they need the approval of the other owners, and they think the team should stay, notes the Sacramento Bee.

The source said the Maloof family, which owns the team, held talks Wednesday with several top NBA officials, including members of the league’s relocation committee.

The Kings owners expressed appreciation for local businesses that have pledged $10 million in sponsorship support for next year, but also shared concerns about whether their finances can withstand several years of waiting for a new arena to be built, and whether Sacramento will be able to come up with an arena plan that is financially feasible, given past failures. NBA officials, in turn, told the Maloofs to stay in Sacramento.

What that really means is the Maloofs most likely do not have the votes needed — more than half of the league’s owners — to get approval for a move for next season. The NBA also met with officials from Anaheim on Wednesday but there are questions from other owners about just how good a deal that really is for the Kings and therefore the NBA. There also are questions about a third team in the greater Los Angeles market.

The Maloofs have to decide if they want to test the owners and put it to a vote. They have until next Monday to file.

Sacramento’s hopes come back to that new downtown building. If in a year the financing for that building is not fully in place and the plans moved along quickly, the team will move with the league’s blessing. The Maloofs don’t want to wait, but they may not have a choice.

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