The Anaheim City Council will soon consider issuing bonds in order to fund upgrades to the Honda Center, reports the Sacramento Bee, as the Sacramento Kings continue to negotiate a relocation to Orange County. The Bee reports that the council will soon consider issuing bonds that would allow the city and its operator, Anaheim Ducks' owner Henry Samueli, to upgrade locker rooms and build a practice facility apparently intended to house an NBA team. The Maloof family, owners of the Kings' franchise, were recently granted an extension that calls for a relocation decision by April 18.
The Anaheim council is expected to take up the bond issue on April 12. The NBA regular season ends April 13, and the NBA's team owners are scheduled to meet that week to discuss, among other things, the Maloofs' plans.
The Maloofs have all but abandoned arena plans in Sacramento, as mayor Kevin Johnson and developer David Taylor work on a feasibility study to assess what sort of funding mechanism is needed to build a new arena and entertainment complex in the downtown area. Maloof backers maintain that the family has little option after working on an arena solution to no avail for a decade; in reality, the Maloofs haven't been directly involved in an effort to get a new gym built in Sacramento for the last four years and several months. The NBA stepped in to help in 2007, but the league's plan went sour and commissioner David Stern all but gave the Maloofs a public green light to find a new home.
It's unclear how Anaheim will go on the bond issue. Should the Maloofs move to Anaheim but fail financially, city taxpayers or Samueli could be on the hook to repay the bonds. The Kings have the lowest payroll in the NBA and the Maloofs will need to come up with at least $100 million to relocate, given a $70-million loan to the city of Sacramento and a prospective relocation fee.
For more on the Kings' relocation saga, visit Sactown Royalty.