Phil Jackson dislikes Kings-to-Anaheim
LOS ANGELES -- Before Los Angeles' two professional basketball teams -- the Lakers and Clippers -- tipped off Friday at Staples Center, Lakers coach Phil Jackson seemed a little ticked off about the possibility of a third NBA team joining the mix.
The Sacramento Kings are looking to relocate to Anaheim, less than an hour drive down the 5 freeway from downtown L.A.
"What other metropolitan area has three teams in it? It's ridiculous to put another franchise in this market," Jackson said. "It just doesn't make sense to do that."
ESPN's Marc Stein reported the Lakers and Clippers have reached out to owners around the league to try to drum up the requisite support from other teams needed to block the Kings' move. The eventual vote will be decided by simple majority, meaning the L.A. teams must find 14 other teams to side with them to prevent Southern California from becoming basketball's version of Three's Company, should the Kings decide to formally apply for relocation.
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"They're putting publicity out and trying to seed the ground, but there hasn't even been a formal Board of Governors [decision] in front of the owners," Jackson said of the progress made by brothers Joe and Gavin Maloof, who co-own the Kings. "There's definitely a push, but that doesn't mean that it's going to happen."
Jackson envisioned a scenario in which the vote would be split and ultimately decided by what direction the New Orleans Hornets lean. The Hornets, of course, were purchased by the NBA in late December from majority owner George Shinn and minority owner Gary Chouest in hopes that the league could find them a new ownership group.
"What does the league feel about it?" Jackson said. "How is New Orleans going to vote?"
League-appointed Hornets governor Jac Sperling will cast New Orleans' vote.
Stein also reported that one way the Kings could be discouraged about making a move even with support of a majority owners' vote is by the league's assessing a hefty relocation fee to the Maloofs.
Wrote Stein: "Relocation fees in the NBA are 'discretionary,' meaning that the fee is established by the league's Board of Governors and varies from relocation to relocation. The Seattle SuperSonics, for example, paid a $30 million relocation fee when they moved to Oklahoma City. It remains to be seen if the Maloofs are asked to pay more."
Jackson said he is not surprised by the prospect of Anaheim's hosting an NBA team, but he always assumed that team would be the Clippers.
"They've been talking about Anaheim ever since I've been in town [in 1999], so I guess I'm not surprised about it," Jackson said. "We were always surprised the Clippers never went there because it seemed like an appropriate place for them to go at that time. Then when Staples [Center] opened up, this has been a joint venture here that's worked out relatively well. I've never heard of anything like it. I mean, you think about the Dodgers and the Angels playing on the same field, it would be pretty impossible. But, here we are. We're doing it and we made it work.
"But to have another team, 40-45 miles away, that puts a lot of pressure on everybody in the area."
The Kings have an April 18 deadline to file for relocation.
Finding a mutual enemy in the Kings may have even brought Jackson and Clippers owner Donald Sterling closer together.
Or, at least it won't bring them any further apart.
"I come from a generation that believed in karma," Jackson said last season when asked about Sterling."I do think there is karma in effect ultimately. ... If you do a good mitzvah [a Jewish term for an act of kindness], maybe you can eliminate some of those things. You don't think Sterling's done enough mitzvahs to eliminate some of those?"
Jackson had no interest in revisiting the conversation on Friday.
"I'm not going there. The last time I did that, I got in trouble with the league," Jackson said.
When asked to explain what he meant by "trouble," Jackson eluded the subject again.
"No, no, no, no, no, no. Don't even start on that," Jackson said. "We're not even going to that topic."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.