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Mayor to plead Sacramento’s case to keep Kings

- Associated Press - Friday, April 1, 2011

Sacramento isn't losing its NBA team without a fight.

Mayor Kevin Johnson plans to attend the NBA Board of Governors meeting next month to plead Sacramento's case to keep the Kings. The former NBA All-Star wrote on his blog Thursday night that he will give the league one final pitch to prevent the Kings from moving south to Anaheim and take steps to lure a franchise back should they leave.

"There's still a little time left on the clock regarding our future with the Kings," Johnson said. "Second, Sacramento means business when it comes to continuing our 25-year partnership with the NBA."

Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof appear determined to relocate to Southern California next fall. About the only thing standing in their way is a majority vote of the NBA's owners.

The Board of Governors meetings are April 14-15 in New York. Johnson said the league already has granted his request to attend and speak on behalf of Sacramento.

An NBA spokesman didn't immediately return a message seeking comment. The league, which along with the Maloofs has not commented on most relocation talk, already has granted the Kings an extension until April 18 to file a request _ mere days after the Board of Governors meet.

Johnson said he spoke with former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory about how the Southern city dealt with the loss of the Hornets _ who moved to New Orleans after the 2001-02 season _ and, perhaps more importantly, how the city quickly lured back an NBA franchise. The Charlotte Bobcats formed in 2004, the league's last expansion team.

Plans were still being made, Johnson said, but he will likely bring business and community leaders with him from Sacramento and the Central Valley to speak to NBA owners.

"They will want to know about possibilities of a new arena in Sacramento, and whether after all these years, our community can finally deliver," Johnson said. "But the bottom line is, the opportunity to speak straight to the NBA is a huge step for our community. It puts our destiny exactly where it belongs: back in our own hands."

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On the web: http://www.kevinjohnson.com/

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