Virginia Beach, Va., today gave up its pursuit of the Sacramento Kings, acknowledging that a deal for a new arena couldn't be reached.
"This just ain't gonna work at this point in time," the city's mayor, Will Sessoms, told The Bee.
Sessoms had imposed a Monday deadline for reaching a deal so he could then go to the Virginia legislature for a $150 million subsidy. The city and arena developer Comcast-Spectacor issued a joint statement saying they haven't "reached a level of progress that will allow the city to go before the General Assembly to request the necessary funding."
"We can't move forward because Comcast has not reached a deal," Sessoms told The Bee.
He said Virginia Beach "would welcome" Comcast to keep talking with the team, "but the city will not be chasing this deal."
He said he didn't know what was the hangup in negotiations.
None of the parties have ever confirmed that the Kings were the team being courted by Virginia Beach, but the Maloofs' interest in the resort city has been widely reported since August.
Contacted by The Bee, Maloof spokesman Eric Rose said in a prepared statement: "As we have said for nearly a year, we have been contacted by several cities and parties interested in the Sacramento Kings organization. The announcement today from Virginia Beach does not change our long-held position that we will not comment on rumors or speculation about the franchise."
Virginia Beach was racing against a deadline. The state legislature convenes Wednesday and concludes in mid-February. A complete financial package would have to be in place by March 1, the NBA's deadline for petitioning for relocation.
The Kings' status in Sacramento has been uncertain ever since the Maloofs abandoned a tentative deal for a new downtown arena last spring.
Previously, the team negotiated a deal to move to Anaheim in 2011 but was persuaded to stay put by NBA officials.
The Virginia Beach deal would have been more than 90 percent publicly funded. Besides the state's $150 million contribution, the city was going to put in $241 million and Comcast-Spectacor $35 million. The total package would have included $80 million in relocation assistance.