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Clay Bennett In Sacramento To Evaluate Kings Relocation Plan

The NBA is in Sacramento on Thursday, working to evaluate whether a last-ditch plan to save the Kings is feasible, or whether the Maloof brothers will shuttle the team off to Anaheim during the offseason. Heading the committee evaluating the proposals is Clay Bennett, the owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder whose experience relocating a team is well-documented. Initial reactions to David Stern naming Bennett the head of the relocation committee were less than positive, and his presence in Sacramento is sure to rattle some nerves.

But the news was good for Sacramento on Thursday as the NBA, and Bennett, will return on Monday to further evaluate the plan. Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson has been working to secure a buyer while pushing a plan to build a new arena (via Sacramento Bee)

In a further indication that the NBA is open to keeping the Kings in Sacramento for another year, league staffers will be back in town on Monday to thoroughly research local corporate commitments to purchase luxury suites and season ticket packages next season, sources close to the negotiations told The Bee.
Should the league decide to give the Kings one more season in Sacramento, that timeline would come with a significant restriction, the sources said: plans for a new arena must be finalized by next March in order for the city want to keep the team long-term.

The plan would be a one-year stop-gap for Sacramento, giving Johnson more time to push an arena plan through. Johnson is working to secure funding for the 2011-12 season, showing the city can support the team and is committed to keeping it in Sacramento. Johnson's efforts are a positive sign for the city, but the road ahead is long and the fight is far from over.

We'll be following the story in Sacramento while examining the parallels to our own efforts to keep the Sonics years ago and the renewed efforts to bring the NBA back. Stay with this StoryStream for the latest as more becomes available.