When Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said he's reached out to plenty of big names regarding the complex and chaotic situation with the Kings, he wasn't kidding.
Dusty Baker was pulled into the loop to provide insight and counsel. The Cincinnati Reds manager who went to Del Campo High School said it would be "awful if Sacramento lost the Kings." Baker's late father, Johnnie B. Baker, was a regular at Kings games, and Baker attends games during the baseball offseason.
"I've spoken to Kevin and I've spoken to (minority owner) Bob Cook, and we're all optimistic," Baker said. "I hope they stay and I think they will, and I know Kevin is working hard on it."
Baker said a new arena and owners could revive the franchise, not to mention the city and its sporting image.
"A new arena could save downtown," Baker said. "I've seen new arenas change cities, like San Diego. Look at the park in San Francisco. The Kings need to stay here. They're a major part of the city."
Baker raised his eyebrows when asked if he thought the NBA would ever return if the Kings leave. Given that, if the Kings leave, would any major sports franchise come to our city?
The Kings and the NBA remain this city's best hope.
What to watch
NBA, Rising Stars Challenge, 6 p.m., TNT: Check out Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas in a game involving the top rookies and second-year players.
In a dream world, what league would you most like to see in Sacramento?
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