Mayor Kevin Johnson conducted his "State of the City" address in Sacramento tonight to discuss the city's goal in preventing the Kings from moving to Seattle. As we relayed earlier, Mitch Richmond is set to join local investors in an attempt to buy the team along with Mark Mastrov, and Ron Burkle was revealed as a prominent figure in helping fund a new arena in Downtown Plaza. There were a plenty of updates during the speech, and you can find the more noteworthy links below:
- Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski says that Mastrov's bid is "slightly lower" than the offer from the Chris Hansen-led Seattle group, which has agreed to pay $341MM for 65% ownership of the Kings. One source told Wojnarowski that while Sacramento's efforts are a long shot, the bid is close enough to cause debate. Mayor Johnson, along with the investors he has put together, will still have to make a case to the NBA Board of Governors in April and convince NBA owners to vote against the ratification of the agreement between the Maloofs and Seattle.
- While Burkle is leading the charge for a new arena, he would also receive a stake in the team if the city's bid is successful, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. He also writes that Johnson appeared confident about making his case to the NBA: "As a city we have done everything that the NBA has ever asked of us. Everything. Each time the NBA put a challenge in front of us, we not only stepped up, but we over-delivered. There is literally nothing more that we could have done, and I am convinced that in return for our efforts, the NBA is going to make the right decision. … A small market that is [as] committed to this league as we are will be rewarded by keeping its team."
- Near the beginning of his address, Mayor Johnson adamantly stated: "I do hope (Seattle gets) a team one day…it is not going to be this team, not our team. No way." (Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today).
- It was confirmed that there are 20 local community investors who have committed $1MM each toward buying the team (Twitter link via Ken Berger).
- Berger also relayed that the proposed new ownership group plans to bring back the city's WNBA franchise – the Sacramento Monarchs – to share the downtown arena with the Kings.
- NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper says that Mastrov is expected to submit a bid to the league office tomorrow. According to Mayor Johnson, tweets Berger, the bid will be "strong and competitive" and David Stern has made assurances that it will receive "full consideration."