The Kings have been playing in Sacramento for 26 years now ever since moving from Kansas City back in 1985. The Kings never won a championship in their time here, and despite a good run starting in 1998 and ending in 2005, they never even reached the playoffs much. The Kings have been rebuilding for the last few years, and despite a poor record, have some good pieces for the future, including last year's Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, young big man DeMarcus Cousins, and new acquisition Marcus Thornton.
But the Kings time in Sacramento may come to an end, as the Maloof Family (which owns the Kings) are seriously considering moving the team to Anaheim in time for next season. The original deadline to file for relocation was March 1st, but the Maloofs filed for an extension on the date instead, which the NBA approved. The new deadline is April 18th, and a discussion will be had by the NBA's Board of Governors on the 14th and 15th. The Maloofs have also filed trademarks for the names "Anaheim Royals", "Los Angeles Royals" and "Anaheim Royals of Southern California". There is definite real interest in moving the team.
The reasons the Kings might move are many; For one, the current arena is severely outdated. But the city hasn't been able to come up with a new arena plan as of yet. Each plan has fallen through. The City last put its trust into a group led by developer David Taylor, who was to come up with a plan within 90 days of Feb. 9th, but Taylor has slowed his study until it is clear on whether or not the Kings will stay. Another reason, and perhaps the most important one, is that the Maloofs could stand to make a lot of money in a bigger market like Anaheim, despite all the concessions they will have to make to resident tenant Henry Samueli, owner of the Anaheim Ducks.
There are a few roadblocks to the relocation process however. Both the Lakers and Clippers have been vocal about their displeasure at the prospect of another team moving into their market. A new report also suggests that the Lakers huge new TV deal (reportedly worth $3 billion) would decrease by 10% if another team moved into the market. That adds up to $300 million, a huge chunk of change.
The Lakers and Clippers would need to rally support from a majority of owners in order to block the move however. Warriors owner Joe Lacob has said he'd be against it as well, as he wants to set a precedent in case a team tries to move to nearby San Jose. It is unclear how other owners would vote, but Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks and Paul Allen of the Portland Trailblazers voted no on the Seattle Supersonics moving to Oklahoma City.
There is also the issue of how much the Maloofs will have to spend to leave Sacramento. The Maloofs currently owe the city $67 million of a loan that was given to them in 1998, and it is immediately due if they leave. Then there are the possible relocation fees. For the last three relocations (Seattle to OKC, Vancouver to Memphis, and Charlotte to New Orleans) the fee has been $30 million. But those moves were to places without a team. The Los Angeles area already has two NBA teams in the Lakers and Clippers, and both teams would likely want some serious cash as a territorial fee. This could dissuade the Maloofs from moving as well.
The next step in the process begins with Anaheim however. On Tuesday, March 29th, they will vote on a $75 million spending bill that will be used to entice the Kings to come to Anaheim. $50 million would be given to the Maloofs to cover some relocation costs (with the bonds covered by Samueli. The Maloofs would have to pay back the loan within 10 years) and $25 million to upgrade the Honda Center to adhere to current NBA standards. If for some reason the Anaheim City Council votes against this, it could kill any plans to relocate, but that seems unlikely at this point.
Keep an eye on this StoryStream for more updates on the situation in Sacramento, and also check out Sactown Royalty for more conversation on the subject.