Los Angeles Lakers franchise owner Jerry Buss -- a critic of the Sacramento Kings' planned relocation to Anaheim -- sits on the NBA's seven-member committee considering the move, SBNation.com has learned.
The league's standing relocation and arena committee has been directed to begin considering the Maloof family's forthcoming request for relocation to Anaheim, according to a source. The Maloofs' relocation application is due April 18. The NBA's committee will have up to 120 days to make a recommendation to the full Board of Governors, which is made up of the 30 franchise owners.
The Maloofs need majority approval to move the Kings to Southern California. The Maloofs themselves do have a vote, and league-appointed governor Jac Sperling will vote on behalf of the NBA-owned New Orleans Hornets.
Buss is understandably opposed to the Kings' relocation. Not only would an NBA team in Anaheim potentially slice into the Lakers' fan base in Orange County, but Buss' new cable contract with Time Warner (worth a reported $5 billion over 25 years) could shrink if the L.A. area adds a third team. Reports indicate the value of that deal could shrink 10 percent if L.A. gets a third team, meaning a Kings relocation to Anaheim would cost the Lakers' $500 million.
SBNation.com has also learned the identity of four other members of the relocation committee: Mickey Arison (Miami Heat), Herb Simon (Indiana Pacers), Peter Holt (San Antonio Spurs) and Ed Snider (Philadelphia 76ers). There are two other members of the committee, but SBNation.com has not been able to confirm their identities.
The full Board of Governors not only votes on whether to allow relocation, but also on what fee the Kings would have to pay the league as a whole and to the Lakers and Clippers separately. When the Sonics were moved to Oklahoma City, the franchise had to pay a $30 million relocation fee, which was then split evenly among the other 29 teams. Buss is but one vote, but he is expected to press hard for a sizable "territorial" fee if he can't first derail the move. Such fees are not governed by the NBA bylaws, and are completely subject to majority rule by the Board of Governors.
NBA franchise owners will meet Thursday and Friday to discuss the Kings' relocation and other league items. The Maloofs and Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, who has fought the relocation, will make presentations to the league on Thursday.