The owners of the Sacramento Kings have dropped plans to move the team to Anaheim next season and will stay at least one more year.
“We are heading back to Sacramento. It was a tough decision,” team co-owner George Maloof said, according to The Sacramento Bee. “Ticket holders were reaching out to us, and it was the right thing to do to give it a shot at one more season.”
The decision gives Sacramento one more chance at planning the new arena the Maloofs say they need for the Kings to remain in California’s state capital. Previous efforts to assemble a plan and financing for a new arena have fallen short.
Team co-owner Joe Maloof told The Associated Press the team would remain in Sacramento for one more season to give mayor Kevin Johnson a chance to follow through on his promise for a new arena. If the city doesn’t follow through, the Kings will be relocated to another city, he added.
Joe Maloof said staying was “the fair thing to do,” and said he was moved by the fans’ show of support.
The Maloofs had until Monday afternoon to file paperwork with the NBA requesting a move. The team would have needed a simple majority of at least 16 votes from the NBA’s 30 owners to make the move and play next season at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
NBA commissioner David Stern told the Maloofs the decision to stay was the right one, The Bee reported.
Last month, Sacramento’s corporate community presented the NBA with more than $10 million in sponsorship pledges to remain in Sacramento for at least one more season.
Johnson, a former NBA All-Star, and Sacramento leaders now have until March 1 to come up with an arena plan, George Maloof told The Bee. Johnson has spent the past few months trying to convince the league that Sacramento remains a viable NBA market.
The team has played in Sacramento since 1985, when it moved from Kansas City. It’s one of the NBA’s most-traveled franchises, with roots in Rochester, N.Y., and stops in Cincinnati, Kansas City and Omaha.