Sacramento's last shot to remain an NBA city appears headed for another overtime.
In a joint statement released Wednesday, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and NBA Commissioner David Stern said they have agreed to a "work plan" in hopes of reaching a deal to finance a new arena by the March 1 deadline. Johnson, Stern and the Maloof family, which owns the Kings, will meet during this weekend's All-Star festivities in Orlando, Fla.
If a plan can been hammered out in time, a term sheet will be announced March 1 and the Sacramento City Council will vote on the plan at its March 6 meeting.
"Sacramento stands ready to meet the March 1 deadline," Johnson said in the statement. "Our approach makes good on the principles that have guided us throughout this process: protecting the taxpayers, creating jobs, and pursuing an open and transparent process."
The major sticking point in negotiations remains how much the Kings will contribute.
Under the proposed agreement, the city of Sacramento will raise about $190-$230 million by leasing out parking garages to private investors, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the information, said another $75-$100 million is expected from the Kings and $40-$60 million from arena operator AEG.
The remaining gap will be covered by some combination of a ticket surcharge, advertising around the arena, allocating a portion of the city's existing transient occupancy tax or a sale of three or four parcels of city land.
The final price tag for AEG depends largely on the team's contribution.
The Kings' portion would include upfront cash — the city had initially asked for $60 million — and donating back the land around the franchise's current suburban Sacramento arena, estimated at about $25 million. AEG's contribution will be impacted by the splits with the team in arena-related revenue.
The two sides are making progress and hope to bridge the remaining gap to finance the estimated $406 million arena, which would open for the 2015-16 season in the downtown Sacramento rail yards. Despite attempts by Anaheim and Seattle to swoop in and lure the Kings, Stern said the league is making every attempt to keep the franchise in California's capital.
"We appreciate the work of the City of Sacramento and (our) discussions have been constructive," Stern said in a statement. "Our hope is that current momentum continues in a way that we're able to reach a deal by March 1 that makes sense for all parties."
Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof haven't been involved in negotiations. The league is bargaining with Sacramento officials on the franchise's behalf and will present the final proposal to the team.
Joel Litvin, president of league operations, and Harvey Benjamin, executive counsel for business and finance, are the NBA's lead negotiators. Stern also has been receiving updates.
The NBA could force the Maloofs into bringing in investment partners or — as a last resort — even sell the team if the owners walk away from a plan that has the league's approval.