NBA To Continue To Study Sacramento Kings' Viability Before May 2 Relocation Deadline

Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee reports that the NBA will send staffers back to Sacramento next week to dig into some $9.2 million in sponsorship commitments the city claims it has pursued in an effort to dissaude the league from allowing the Kings to relocate to Anaheim. NBA counsel Harvey Benjamin and Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett, the chair of the league's relocation committee, visited Sacramento Thursday to meet with Kevin Johnson, the city's mayor and a former All-Star point guard, and other local leaders.

The seemingly successful visit follows reports from SI.com's Sam Amick that NBA owners were far from impressed by Anaheim's bid for the Kings. The Maloof family, which has owned the Kings franchise for 11 years, is interested in moving to Anaheim before the 2011-12 season. But Sacramento has pulled the scales hard in recent weeks, as Johnson reportedly wowed the league's Board of Governors by coming up with the $9 million in sponsorships and bringing billionaire Ron Burkle into the conversation.

Lillis of The Bee also reports, citing anonymous sources, that should the NBA direct the Maloofs to keep the Kings in Sacramento next season, it would be under the understanding that the city has until March 2012 to come up with a concrete plan for a new arena. The Maloofs have described 23-year-old Power Balance Pavilion -- formerly known as ARCO Arena -- is untenable. Few disagree.

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