The Sacramento Kings will not move to Anaheim next season, according to published reports.
Gavin Maloof, who owns the franchise with his brother Joe, told the Sacramento Bee: “We are heading back to Sacramento.”
An 11 a.m. news conference is scheduled at City Hall in Sacramento, where mayor and former National Basketball Association star Kevin Johnson is expected to speak on the issue.
Johnson has been instrumental in convincing league officials to take a second look at the viability of the Sacramento market. Late last week he announced $10 million in corporate sponsorships if the Kings stay in capital city.
The decision comes hours before the 2 p.m. deadline when the Kings had to formerly petition the NBA to relocate the team to Anaheim and ends months of speculation here about landing a third professional sports franchise.
The saga included plenty of twists and turns and high profile business personalities.
Last week billionaire Henry Samueli upped the ante to land the Sacramento Kings and offered to buy a minority stake in the franchise.
Samueli, cofounder of Irvine-based Broadcom Corp. and owner of the Anaheim Ducks and the company that runs the city-owned Honda Center, offered to increase a personal loan to the team from $50 million to $75 million and offered to buy a part of the team.
Landing a basketball team has been a big goal of Anaheim and Samueli, who loves hockey but calls basketball his favorite sport.
The timetable for the Kings to make the decision was extended from April 18 to Monday afternoon during meetings in New York last month that were attended by Anaheim officials, including Mayor Tom Tait and Samueli, as well as Johnson and Sacramento lobbyist and developer Darius Anderson, who has close ties to California supermarket tycoon and Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner Ronald Burkle, a potential white knight in keeping an NBA team in Sacramento.
Sacramento’s outdated Arco Arena is a major stumbling block for any NBA team’s finances and without a new arena deal in the works, the city will be hard pressed to keep the Kings after next season or find another franchise to relocate.
The Maloofs want Johnson to come up with a arena plan by March, according to reports.