Sacramento is keeping the Kings, at least for one more season. Mayor Kevin Johnson did what one month ago any right thinking human would have called impossible. He convinced the NBA and to some extent the Maloofs that the money is here for the team to be successful and most importantly, he can get a new arena built.
Johnson had a big assist from Southern California. You can bet that Lakers owner Jerry Buss was pulling every string imaginable to keep the Kings from moving to Anaheim. Why should he share any part of his lucrative TV contract. NBA commissioner David Stern knows he needs to keep Buss happy should the league move toward more revenue sharing.
The Maloofs have to be wondering what was going on in their front office if Johnson could suck an extra $10 million out of area businesses. What were their sales people doing anyway? A major overhaul needs to happen in the front office and it appears the NBA is sending help this week to see that it happens.
But none of this matters without a new arena. It's clear there's no appetite in the community for any taxes to build a new arena. Sacramento needs to convince the county and the region as a whole that having the NBA here is important to the area. The key may lie with the state legislature and the creation of some authority that can raise funding to build the arena.
They've got ten months to do it and the irony of it all is if it doesn't happen, don't count on the Kings going to Anaheim. The irony is that the Kings could end up back in Kansas City. The Sprint Center beckons and the whispers are that the NBA will opt for a return to the Midwest should Sacramento fail to deliver.