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Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait issued a statement late Friday confirming the city’s interest.

“Like most NBA fans, I’ve been watching the recent developments with the Kings, and if they do leave Sacramento, they should know that we would welcome them here,” Tait said. “Anaheim is NBA-ready. We have great fans and a first-class facility.”

During Anaheim’s previous flirtation with the Kings, Samueli agreed to loan $50 million to the Maloofs for relocation expenses. The Kings also seem likely to make much more money in television and corporate sponsorship in Orange County than in Sacramento, particularly with the television opening created when the Lakers move next season from Fox Sports West to Time Warner.

If the Kings attempt to move to Orange County, the Lakers and Clippers likely would voice objections to a third team invading their geographic territory. Honda Center is 35 miles away from Staples Center, but Orange County residents insist they are in a distinct area of Southern California.

“With more than 3 million people in Orange County and millions more in the Inland Empire, we have the fan base and the enthusiasm to certainly support a team,” Tait said.


AP Sports Writers Antonio Gonzalez, Greg Beacham and Jeff Latzke contributed to this report.


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