Talks break down with Maloof family in negotiations to build downtown arena for Kings. Seattle remains one of the cities interested.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A deal to build a new NBA arena in Northern California that was already on life support appears to be officially dead.
Mayor Kevin Johnson said so Friday after two days of talks between city officials and the Maloof family, which owns the Sacramento Kings, broke down.
Johnson said it became clear there were “irreconcilable” differences between the sides over the financing plan for a $391 million downtown sports facility.
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“We know this door is closed,” the mayor said at a news conference. “This deal is not happening as we know it and we both acknowledged that.”
Exactly what that means for Seattle’s efforts to lure back an NBA team remain to be seen.
Chris Hansen, a Seattle native and hedge-fund manager from San Francisco, has proposed building a $490 million arena just south of Safeco Field, buying an NBA team, and recruiting an NHL team to play there.
Hansen could not be reached for comment Friday, but has preached patience as he has pitched his proposal to city and county officials.
Seattle has not had an NBA team since the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008.
The Kings appear to be one of the most likely NBA teams to move after almost leaving for Anaheim before last season. This season, the Maloof family reached a handshake deal with Sacramento to replace aging Power Balance Pavilion, but later backed out of the tentative agreement.
The talks in Sacramento apparently had two major sticking points. The mayor said the Maloofs balked at providing “adequate” collateral on a refinanced loan to replace the $67 million in debt the family has with the city. Also, the team would not agree to a 30-year commitment to Sacramento, he said.
Johnson said the city would shift its focus to building a downtown sports arena without the Kings.
Maloof spokesman Eric Rose said in a statement: “The Kings will continue the operations of the organization and building on the franchise’s young nucleus of players.”
Co-owner George Maloof, who led the Kings’ delegation in the two-day summit meeting at City Hall, said the team doesn’t intend to seek relocation.
“We’re not going anywhere,” he said.
The team ended its regular season in turmoil, finishing the shortened season 22-44 and missing the playoffs for the sixth straight year. Coach Paul Westphal was fired two weeks into the season after a dispute with big man DeMarcus Cousins. Hyped rookie Jimmer Fredette also flopped, and the drama over whether the team would stay or leave swirled the entire season.
At the beginning of Thursday’s season-ending win over the Lakers, Cousins took the microphone and addressed the crowd, thanking fans for their support and promising the team will improve over the summer. He ended with, “See you next season.”
Nothing is promised beyond that.
Material from The Sacramento Bee and The Associated Press was included in this article.