NEW YORK – NBA commissioner David Stern was heartened by the decision of the Kings' owners to keep their club in Sacramento for another season, but said Monday the city has to act if it wants to keep them.
Kings co-owner George Maloof told The Sacramento Bee newspaper that it was a difficult decision to drop p
lans to move the team south to Anaheim, California, where the Maloof family believes the club could find a more stable financial situation.
The move was announced just hours before an NBA-imposed deadline for the Kings to file a formal request to relocate the team.
"We are heading back to Sacramento. It was a tough decision. Ticket holders were reaching out to us, and it was the right thing to do to give it a shot at one more season," Maloof said.
However, the Kings' continued tenure in Sacramento will be contingent on the ability of mayor Kevin Johnson's ability to deliver a workable plan for the building of a new arena.
"We are prepared to work with the mayor," Maloof said. "We'll give him every opportunity to show us what he has in mind.
"We're not going in with a defeatist attitude... We'll look to the mayor to turn his words into reality. We have to put him on the spot. He has represented he can get it done. It needs to get done."
Johnson, a former NBA All-Star player, has led a drive to come up with $10 million in sponsorship pledges from the corporate community in just weeks.
He has promised that Sacramento will have a new sports and entertainment complex even if the Kings don't stay.
While Stern has been impressed with Johnson's efforts, he admitted there is reason to doubt Sacramento can come up with a feasible plan -- including an arena -- to keep the team given its past history.
"But this may be that special moment where forces join together for this opportunity, realize what the needs are for a sports and entertainment complex for greater Sacramento," Stern said on a conference call.
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