The Maloofs backed out of a tentative $391 million deal for a new downtown arena with Sacramento last year, reigniting fears the franchise could relocate. Johnson and the Kings broke off all negotiations in the summer.
In 2011, the Kings appeared determined to move to Anaheim before Johnson convinced the NBA to give the city one last chance to help finance an arena. At one point, Johnson seemed so certain the team was gone he called the process a "slow death" and compared the city's efforts to keep the Kings a "Hail Mary."
Johnson made a desperate pitch to the NBA Board of Governors last April, promising league owners the city would find a way to help finance a new arena to replace the team's current outdated suburban facility. He also bought time by presenting more than $10 million in commitments for new advertising, ticket purchases and other financial support from regional businesses for this season.
The NBA's relocation committee, headed by Bennett, recommended that the league give the city a shot to follow through and handed down a March 1 deadline to come up with a plan to help finance an arena. Johnson delivered the agreement on March 1 to send the plan to the City Council.
On the night of March 6, 2012, the Sacramento City Council passed a deal — brokered by the NBA and with the blessing of Commissioner David Stern — for a new downtown arena. A sea of supporters packed the grounds for the vote, which seemingly saved the Kings from relocation.
Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof also attended the meeting. He thanked the council and said his family looked forward to working with the city to finalize plans that would keep the franchise in Sacramento for at least another 30 years.
The Maloofs broke off talks with Johnson and the city over the summer. The Kings have said the deal didn't make financial sense for the franchise.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @EarlOfHemsley. AP Sports Writers Tim Booth, Antonio Gonzalez and Brian Mahoney contributed to this report.
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