NEW YORK — The Kings' future in Sacramento is uncertain again.
A tentative deal for a new arena has fallen through, leaving open the possibility the team's owners could again try to move from California's capital.
The Maloof family said Friday it intended to remain in Sacramento, and Commissioner David Stern says he believes them. But Stern also said it was the Maloofs' right to re-examine the deal that had been agreed to last month, and he says there is nothing more the league can do to broker a new one.
Stern stressed that the deal was "always nonbinding," and he supported the Maloofs' decision to say they were no longer comfortable with its terms.
"I think it's fair for the Maloofs to say they don't want to do that," Stern said during a news conference after two days of owners meetings. "If they had done it simpler, earlier or more directly, it could have saved a lot of angst and trouble."
The Kings nearly moved to Anaheim after last season before agreeing to stay this season while the city tried to put together a plan to replace Power Balance Pavilion.
The two sides reached a tentative deal last month to fund the estimated $391 million arena that would open for the 2015-16 season in the downtown Sacramento rail yards. The Sacramento City Council already passed its end of the deal, brokered by the league and tentatively agreed to by the Kings.
Kings owners Joe, Gavin and George Maloof had since taken issue with some of the terms — particularly environmental and pre-development costs. Under the agreement, the Kings and arena operator AEG each agreed to pay about $3.25 million in pre-development costs with the city paying the remaining $6.5 million.
The Maloofs made a presentation to owners Thursday, which they shared at a separate news conference Friday. They were meeting later in the day with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, leaving Stern "hopeful about its outcome but not optimistic."Comment on this story
During their news conference, the Maloofs said they liked Sacramento but insisted the arena project was too expensive. George Maloof said they had given the city a list of their concerns that needed to be addressed before they could commit to such a major deal.
Maloof even floated the idea of renovating Power Balance Pavilion. Stern said he didn't know if that was possible.
"If they choose to do that, that's up to them," he said.
The Kings are scheduled to play at Power Balance Pavilion next season. Stern wouldn't speculate where they would play beyond that, and said if they sought to relocate, approval would be left to the relocation committee that is headed by Oklahoma City owner Clay Bennett.