Johnson meets with Kings co-owner George Maloof

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson met with Kings co-owner George

Maloof on Friday in Las Vegas in an attempt to revive talks about a

new arena for the NBA team.

”The first thing to say is that we had a productive meeting,”

Johnson said Friday night at halftime of the Kings-Thunder game.

”I thought it was important to keep the lines of communication

open. In the spirit of Sacramento, if anything is going to be

productive, we have to communicate.

”We didn’t get into the core principles of the deal. That

wasn’t what it was about. It was just us sitting down face to face

and talking about possibilities.

”It was a solid step forward. We agreed to have a follow-up

conversation next week.”

The Maloof family issued a statement after the meeting,

”This afternoon Mayor Kevin Johnson had a meeting at the Palms

Hotel and met with George Maloof for nearly an hour,” the

statement said. ”The meeting was cordial; however, nothing

definitive resulted from the meeting. The Maloof family will not

have any further comments on the meeting.”

The Maloof family has balked at terms of an agreement reached

last month, though saying they want to remain in Sacramento. City

officials, led by former NBA star Johnson, met with the Maloofs and

league officials during the NBA’s All-Star weekend in Orlando in

February, celebrating a tentative deal to fund the estimated $391

million arena that would open for the 2015-16 season in the

downtown rail yards.

But the Maloofs have since taken issue with some of the terms –

particularly environmental and pre-development costs that Johnson

said made up less than 1 percent of the project’s cost.

Johnson has said Sacramento would be interested in keeping the

Kings under another owner, but the Maloofs have repeatedly said

they aren’t interested in selling, even as they have faced

financial difficulties that left the family with only 2 percent of

their ownership of the Palms Casino.

Anaheim is still interested in luring a team to the city-owned

Honda Center with the backing of Henry Samueli, the billionaire

technology executive who owns the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Samueli

recently embarked on a $20 million improvement project, adding

several amenities to the well-maintained arena by early 2013.

Johnson was asked if he trusted the Maloofs when they say they

want to stay in Sacramento.

”I’ve got to take them at face value,” Johnson said.