Sacramento, Maloofs meeting on Kings - USA TODAY

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ORLANDO – Sacramento Mayor and former NBA guard Kevin Johnson passed on Sunday's All-Star Game.

He instead was set to meet through the night with Sacramento Kings owners Gavin, Joe and George Maloof to discuss a financing plan for a $387 million entertainment complex in hopes of keeping the franchise. Commissioner David Stern, who attended the first hour, left for the All-Star Game but was scheduled to return.

"The bad news is the meeting is continuing, and the good news is that the meeting is continuing," said Stern, who made a similar remark during the 149-day NBA lockout that delayed the 2011-12 season.

However, there's not much time left to haggle. The city has to submit a financing plan to the league by Thursday or risk having the Maloofs relocate the franchise.

"Everybody clearly recognizes the time constraint of the March 1 deadline, and I can just say there's a sincere effort by everybody in the room to make this happen," Johnson says.

It was Johnson's first face-to-face with the Maloofs to discuss the city's financing plans. Joe and Gavin have been open to staying; George has leaned towards relocation.

"One of the most positive things for me, they said they want to be in Sacramento. That's a question I had to ask for our community," Johnson says. "I don't want us just to be coming up with excuses for why this deal won't work if somebody doesn't want to be here."

The plan centers around parking and how much the city will contribute by issuing a 30-to-50-year operating lease to a private vendor for a city-owned complex.

According to the plan from Johnson's arena committee that's being discussed:

•$200 million would come from parking.

•$50 million would come from Anschutz Entertainment Group, operator of the complex.

•$85 million would come from the Maloofs, but by selling back the land at the Kings' current home, Power Balance Pavilion, to the city it would reduce their cost to roughly $60 million-$65 million.

•The balance would come from other sources arranged by the city, such as other private investors but not taxpayer funds.

The city's contingent thinks, if the sides are $10 million to $15 million apart, the divide can be resolved through increased sponsorships.

Stern acknowledged Saturday that getting the city to contribute more has been an issue for the Maloofs.

"Life is a negotiation," Stern said. "We'd like the city, on behalf of the Maloofs, to make the largest possible contribution. The city would like the Maloofs to make the largest."

The Maloofs had a deal in place to move the team south to Anaheim before the league granted an extension to Sacramento, the nation's 25th largest media market which has had the Kings since 1985.

Johnson was able to get a reprieve for the city as he mobilized the business community and corporate sponsorships to show the Kings had the financial support to keep the team. And he swayed the NBA's Board of Governors, which led to the Maloofs withholding from filing relocation papers in May.

If an agreement is reached among all sides, the City Council must approve the financing plan by March 6.

27 Feb, 2012

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