The quest to keep the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento is starting to heat up. Billionaire grocery store magnate Ron Burkle has emerged from seemingly out of nowhere as a potential buyer of the Kings if their move to Anaheim falls apart.
On Wednesday night, the Kings bid a tearful farewell to Sacramento, the city they’ve called home for 26 years. In one of the more touching moments you’ll see during an NBA telecast, the Kings’ veteran broadcast team held back tears as they signed off for, what they thought, was the final time. Fans stayed and applauded, even though the game itself, an overtime loss to the Lakers, was over.
Now, however, there’s a bit of hope, even if it’s just a sliver. Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson (a former NBA player himself) told the NBA Board of Governors (the owners of all of the NBA teams) that Burkle, a super-rich friend of Bill Clinton who moves in very influential circles, is prepared to purchase the team and keep them in Sacramento.
The team’s current owners, the Maloof brothers, aren’t selling. But as Pro Basketball Talk points out, that could all change if their quest to move the team becomes too costly. One way it could get expensive: the owners of the NBA’s two LA teams, the Lakers and Clippers, want the Maloofs to pay a heavy relocation fee to move into their market.
Burkle’s emergence may be too little, too late. But for the small-market, basketball-loving people of Sacramento, it’s something.