Seattle officials have been in talks for eight months on plans to build a new arena, and they have an eye on the Sacramento Kings, according to news reports this weekend in Seattle.
The Seattle Times reported it obtained documents Friday indicating that city's mayor's office has been working behind the scenes with a San Francisco businessman who hopes to buy a team and bring it to Seattle if an arena can be financed.
The documents include an email updating Seattle officials on Sacramento's efforts to build a new arena to keep the Kings here, the Times reported. Seattle, which lost the SuperSonics to Oklahoma City several years ago, has tried and failed several times to replace its undersized Key Arena. Seattle voters have placed stringent controls on arena financing.
Sacramento Kings officials declined comment about the report. The Maloof family, which owns the team, has repeatedly said it has no interest in selling. The Kings almost moved to Anaheim last spring, but NBA officials persuaded them to give Sacramento until this March 1 to put together a financing plan for a new arena.
"At this time, the organization will defer to the NBA on any inquiries regarding the arena process," team spokesman Chris Clark said Sunday.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said, "We have heard reports of stirrings of arena plans but are not involved."
The NBA has been shopping for new owners for its New Orleans franchise.
Chris Lehane, director of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson's Think Big Sacramento arena effort, said Sacramento controls its own destiny, regardless of efforts in other cities.
The City Council will receive an update Feb. 14 on a plan to privatize downtown city parking to raise arena construction funds.
"Sacramento is as close as ever to getting an arena deal done and keeping the Kings," Lehane said in an email to The Bee on Sunday. "The NBA's actions and words have made clear it wants to keep the Kings in Sacramento, and if the league continues to make clear this commitment, the city is in a position to control its own destiny should it determine that moving forward on the parking solution is in the best interest of the public."