A Sacramento city official sent a letter Monday directly requesting that Anaheim end its support for the relocation of the Kings, reports the Sacramento Bee. The Anaheim City Council is scheduled to vote on a bond issuance on Tuesday that would free up $25 million for Honda Center renovations and a $50 million loan to the Maloof family, owners of the Kings franchise. An Anaheim city staff report recommended the approval of the measure, and Anaheim's mayor has called the addition of an NBA team to Orange County "close."
But Sacramento has begun rattling its sabres in recent days, with the letter to Anaheim's city manager the most brash attempt to derail the seemingly inevitable move. Sacramento's stated basis for officially requesting that Anaheim back off is that the Maloofs owe Sacramento $77 million. The $50 million loan from Anaheim wouldn't cover that, let alone untold millions in relocation fees assessed by the NBA. The Maloofs are seen as having cashflow issues; their Palms hotel in Las Vegas has been the focus of several unflattering financial reports, and the Kings have the league's lowest payroll.
It looks to be a PR move by Sacramento city officials, as the Bee had posted its story on the letter within minutes of the letter's transmission. At the end of the letter, a reference is made to potential California Environmental Quality Act violations the Honda Center's renovations could cause, though it seems more like grandstanding and/or snark than anything. The violations that renovations of the Honda Center would cause? "Blight impacts on the city of Sacramento due to the relocation of the Kings." Interestingly enough, Sacramento's interim city manager resigned for unstated reasons just last week.
If the Maloofs don't pay back the loan to Sacramento, the city would take control of the 23-year-old Power Balance Pavilion and a $25 million stake in the Kings.