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Mayor gives Kings a 90 percent chance of staying

The SportsXchange

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is almost sure the Kings won't leave for Seattle next season.

How sure?

"I'm going to say Steve Nash is on the free-throw line," Johnson, a former NBA guard, said in an interview Friday on the Dan Patrick Show.

That would be more than 90 percent sure. Nash shoots 90.4 percent at the foul line.

"I will tell you what, I'm excited, Johnson said. "I think Sacramento, we're going to pull it off. The Maloof family accepted an offer to sell the team to Seattle, and the group up in Seattle signed it. But there was always an opportunity for a backup offer to be accepted.

"We're all over it in Sacramento. We have an ownership group that is putting forward a counteroffer that is competitive and very strong. We're building a brand new arena.'

Sacramento's City Council voted Thursday night to build a downtown arena.

"At the end of the day, we will find a way to keep our team in Sacramento," Johnson said.

After the Maloof family accepted a $525 million offer earlier this year from a Seattle group to buy a majority ownership in the franchise, a Sacramento investment group stepped forward with a competitive bid package that now includes the proposed new arena.

The NBA's Board of Governors will hear the case on Wednesday and then announce on April 18 or 19 which group receives the franchise.

"It means the world to our community," Johnson said. "The Sacramento Kings have been here since 1985 and we epitomize what a one-team market is all about. When you think about our fans, we have some of the best records of attendance in the history of the NBA."

Johnson hopes a strong sales push results in 10,000 season tickets for next season. He said the Kings are three-quarters of the way to their goal with 7,500.

"So we feel very comfortable and confident about our market, and this team and this love affair between a city in the NBA is something that is very strong," he said.
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