Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson finally met with the Maloofs on Wednesday.
After days of trying to arrange a meeting, Johnson sat down with the owners of the Sacramento Kings at Power Balance Pavilion before Wednesday night's game against Portland, the mayor's special assistant, R.E. Graswich, said.
The meeting lasted 40 minutes. In an e-mailed statement, Johnson said the participants "had a candid and productive conversation about our mutual goals and interests."
"I made clear that our community wants the Kings to stay, but we are fully aware that this is ultimately their decision," Johnson said. "The Maloofs understand that regardless of what they choose, I will join with other leaders across the region to fight for what's best for our community. This includes developing a new entertainment and sports complex, with or without the Kings. I fully expect to continue an open, direct and proactive dialogue with the Maloofs as we all move forward."
Kings ownership and city officials have done little, if any, talking in recent weeks as the team considers whether to move to Anaheim. Team officials reiterated Wednesday they were not commenting publicly on the issue of the team's future or the effort to build a new sports arena in Sacramento.
Also Wednesday, Johnson spoke by phone with NBA Commissioner David Stern for 45 minutes.
Graswich described that conversation as positive, with discussion about the effort by Kings fans to sell out Monday's game, the prospects of building a new arena in town and the future of the NBA in Sacramento.
Business and labor leaders on Wednesday began to amp up pressure to build a new sports arena in Sacramento and keep the Kings in town.
Three of the most influential business groups in the city the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, the Sacramento Metro Chamber and the Sacramento Convention and Visitors' Bureau released a joint statement saying a new arena would create jobs and that building a new facility here "will require a significant commitment and investment from the community."
"In the end, an ESC (entertainment and sports complex) is not about the Maloofs," the joint statement read. "It's not about the Kings. It's about the future of our region. And our community will need to come together to make this project a reality."
Downtown developer David Taylor and arena builder ICON Venue Group are conducting a financial feasibility study for a new arena. Some form of public contribution will likely be part of the funding equation that team comes up with.
Earlier Wednesday, officials with the SEIU labor group sent out a news release quoting a pair of Power Balance Pavilion workers whose lives would be negatively affected should the Kings move to Anaheim.
"We need the Kings," said Darren Tate, who has worked on the arena's crew for over 23 years. "If they leave, we'll likely see our hours cut, and that's something that many of us simply can't afford."