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Mayor pleads for Kings

Owners hear case for Sacramento

Associated Press / April 15, 2011

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Sacramento’s mayor, Kevin Johnson, watched part of the Kings’ season finale, then flew overnight across the country. His goal: Make sure that wasn’t the last NBA game in California’s state capital.

“We felt very strongly that the Sacramento Kings were worth fighting for. And if anybody thinks that we’re going to sit on our hands and roll over and just let somebody leave without putting up a good fight, they’d be gravely mistaken,’’ Johnson said yesterday after a presentation in front of NBA owners.

Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof are considering a move to Anaheim and must file a relocation application with the league by Monday. The league’s owners are meeting in New York the next two days, and Johnson followed the Maloof group in speaking to them yesterday.

Johnson said he hopes the Maloofs choose to stay, but if not there was an ownership group headed by Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle that would be interested in purchasing the team or buying another team to move to Sacramento.

Spurs’ Ginobili ailing Spurs guard Manu Ginobili is doubtful for Game 1 of the playoffs Sunday against Memphis after spraining his right elbow in the regular-season finale. The 33-year-old All-Star hyperextended the elbow in the first quarter of Wednesday’s loss at Phoenix . . . While he cannot comment on any contract extension due to the pending end of the collective bargaining agreement in July, Deron Williams said he would like to remain with the Nets. Williams, who had wrist surgery Monday after playing just 12 games with the Nets, said he feels comfortable in New Jersey and would like to be part of the organization in the long run. “I like the way they’re going. Everyone has made me feel comfortable here. I can definitely see myself staying here,’’ he said . . . Kobe Bryant and the Lakers are favored by oddsmakers (5-2) to capture their third straight championship, while the Celtics are the fifth choice at 7-1 . . . A person familiar with the decision says the Lakers and Phil Jackson each have been fined $75,000 for comments the coach made about collective bargaining. The two fines come a day after the league fined Bryant $100,000 for using a derogatory gay term in response to a referee’s call . . . New Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber gave Larry Riley a multiyear deal to stay put as general manager and executive vice president of basketball operations.

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