It’s not the last word, but the fat lady is definitely singing for the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Anaheim City Council – acting as the Public Financing Authority — approved on a 5-0 vote two measures that should clear the way for the Kings to relocate to Anaheim and probably be named the Royals.
The council voted for $75 million in bonds to pay for NBA relocation fees, improvements to the city-owned Honda Center, as well as a locker room for NBA teams and an NBA-quality practice facility.
While the Kings are not named in the measure approved by the council, the city has acknowledged that it was in negotiation with the Maloof family, owners of the Kings. Anaheim has been courting a major league professional basketball franchise since the building – first called the Anaheim Arena and then the Arrowhead Pond – opened in 1993.
The facility seats 18,400 for basketball and would fill many open dates now on the Honda Center calendar.
Attorneys for the Maloofs have filed patent protection for the names Anaheim Royals, Orange County Royals and Anaheim Royals of Orange County, although the first name is considered to be the most likely.
Founded originally in Rochester before the formation of the NBA, the team was called the Royals until it moved to Kansas City in the Seventies. The name was changed out of deference to the Kansas City Royals baseball team.
The Kings name is considered unlikely for Anaheim, in order to eliminate any confusion with the Los Angeles Kings hockey team.
Final approval for the move must be given by the NBA Board of Governors by a simple majority.