Kevin Johnson: 'The Slow Death Is Almost Over'

By Marcus Vanderberg 

The Sacramento Kings moving to Anaheim is all but a done deal according to Mayor Kevin Johnson.

The former Phoenix Suns great wrote on his blog Tuesday regarding the team relocating after the end of the season, saying “the slow death is almost over” and “a new beginning is right around the corner.”

With no plans of a new arena in Sacramento, owners Joe and Gavin Maloof have been in discussions with the city of Anaheim in Southern California.

Earlier this month, the Kings filed four federal trademarks registrations: Anaheim Royals, Anaheim Royals of Southern California, Orange County Royals and Los Angeles Royals.

Below is Johnson’s entire blog entry:

“It feels like a slow death.

From the start of the saga that may soon close the Kings’ era in Sacramento, I have said the community should focus on what it can control, and not worry about decisions that are out of our hands.

The decision to move a business – let’s not forget, the Kings are a business – rests with the owners. We can talk and do our best to persuade, but in the end, the choice to relocate belongs to the people who own the team.

Of course, none of this makes it any easier to watch the steady drip of what will likely be the Kings’ final weeks in Sacramento after 26 years.

First we heard from NBA Commissioner David Stern, who said rumors about the Kings’ talks with Anaheim were more than rumors.

Next was the decision by the Kings not to share financial market data with the team of professionals selected by the City Council to study the feasibility of our new entertainment and sports complex.

Then we saw the Kings playing games in “Royals” uniforms – supposedly to celebrate their history when the club was based in Rochester, N.Y., and Cincinnati from 1948 to 1972.

Last week, local media broke the story about a lawyer for the Kings gobbling up Web domains and name rights to the “Anaheim Royals,” among other Southern California titles.

Now we have the Anaheim City Council preparing to take action on improvements to the city’s arena, where the as-yet-unofficial Anaheim Royals will play.

Meantime, Sacramento fans take the high road.

Thanks to the fans and groups like Here We Stay, I want to keep fighting to keep the Kings. But another part of me wants this painful drama to end.

The strange part is, our true destiny as a professional sports town continues to rest with us – not the Kings or Royals or whatever they want to call themselves.

Our region – one of the most desirable places to live, work and raise families in the U.S. – can start the next chapter of our cultural destiny in the upcoming weeks.

It’s in our hands. It’s our decision.

First things first, we’ll fight to protect taxpayers and the city. That means making sure the Kings fully pay off their loan.

Then, we plan for the future.

By May, the feasibility study by ICON Venue, David Taylor and partners, should be completed. The pros at ICON are now building a new entertainment and sports complex on paper – figuring it down to the price of the restroom faucets.

We will know exactly where we stand when the study is ready. The question for the Sacramento region will be: Are we ready?

The slow death is almost over. It’s painful. But a new beginning is right around the corner.”