SACRAMENTO, Calif. - It is news no Sacramento Kings fan wants to hear, the team's owners are negotiating to move the team to Virginia Beach.
Up until now, rumors and unconfirmed reports swirled around the Capital City about a Kings' possible move to Virginia Beach; however, now, sources in Virginia, who asked not to be identified, said George Maloof has met with state and city leaders there and plans are being drafted to possibly move the NBA team.
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At Tuesday night's Virginia Beach City Council meeting, Mayor Will Sessoms said media giant Comcast-Spectacor and its president, Peter Luukko, are very optimistic.
"He is currently working on a long-term lease with a professional sports team that will serve as an anchor tenant to an arena," Sessoms told the council.
Virginia Beach hopes to build a $300 million arena and its asking for a $150 million contribution from the State of Virginia.
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According to a letter sent by the city, $80 million of that $150 million would go straight to the team, which appears to be the Kings. The team would use the money for the relocation fee to the NBA, moving costs and money to offset lost revenue; they'll have to play in a smaller venue for the first two seasons while a new arena is built.
But the deal isn't done yet. Is there any chance of keeping the Kings?
The Maloofs have repeatedly said they will stay if the City of Sacramento pitches in and renovates Sleep Train Arena.
But last month Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said the city isn't interested.
"We've already said that doesn't meet our criteria," Johnson said.
When asked even it means losing the team, Johnson replied, "That's their choice, because what we all agreed on was a downtown arena with the financing plan, we did that."
A timeline for a potential move remains unclear. Sessoms said he hopes to have a binding term sheet agreed to by March of 2013.
If that's the case, the Kings would likely file for relocation by April of 2013, in time to be approved by the NBA's Board of Governors.
By Nick Monacelli, firstname.lastname@example.org