Sacramento Abuzz Over Kings Deal

Agreement sure to disappoint suitors in Anaheim and Seattle.

With all the drama of a free throw at the buzzer, a tentative deal has been struck to keep the Sacramento Kings from leaving California's capital city.

That's bound to be a big disappointment to officials in Anaheim, which had hoped to lure the team to the Pond. 

And likewise a disappointment to leaders in Seattle, which is actively shopping for an NBA team after the exit of the Supersonics.

The agreement was announced Monday in Orlando by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, himself a former NBA player with the Phoenix Suns.

"It's game over, so our community should be really excited," Johnson said following marathon meetings that stretched throughout the weekend with NBA Commissioner David Stern and the Maloof brothers, owners of the team.

Johnson has likely cemented his reelection this year, assuming the deal holds.

A move by the team would have been seen as both an economic and psychological blow to the city and to the capital region.    But voters made it clear, in an election several years ago, that taxpayer dollars should not be used to keep the team.

Team owners Joe, Gavin and George Maloof have reportedly agreed to contribute $75 million up front to finance construction of a new basketball arena to replace the aging Power Balance Pavilion.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Senator Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, said he is pleased that the Maloofs "have stepped up to the plate and committed to the region."

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, called it, "great news and a big boost for the Sacramento region."

The agreement must still be voted on by the Sacramento City Council on March 6.  But the agreement by the Maloof family to kick in some serious cash is widely seen as the final factor in putting together a plan to keep the NBA franchise from leaving.

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