Sacramento leaders making pitch to keep Kings

Business and political leaders in Sacramento have another chance to persuade the NBA that the Kings should stay in town, and they'll put a full-court press on league officials this week.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA star, said Tuesday that the city had feared the Kings' move to Anaheim might be a done deal. But he said at least some of the NBA owners at last week's league meetings appeared impressed when the city presented $7 million in commitments for new financial support from local businesses and other backers.

Commissioner David Stern said last week that the league wanted to "do a little bit more fact-finding" and the NBA granted the Kings' owners another extension until May 2 to file paperwork requesting a relocation. The original deadline passed last Monday.

The NBA will send two representatives to Sacramento on Thursday, including relocation committee chairman Clay Bennett, chairman of the ownership group for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The franchise was the Seattle SuperSonics until 2008, when Bennett relocated the team amid calls for a new arena.

Besides giving the Maloof family, which owns a controlling interest in the Kings, more time to formally request league approval for a move, the extension also gives Sacramento more time to make its case to keep the Kings and show how it could build a new arena the team wants.

Local backers want both the Kings and the Maloofs to stay in Sacramento, Johnson said. Failing that, they'd like to keep the team with new owners, or attract a different NBA franchise. The emergence of supermarket tycoon Ron Burkle as an potential buyer for the team created a buzz last week, but Johnson said he may not be a factor in the discussion if the city can make the case that Sacramento is a viable market for the Maloofs and the Kings. The Maloofs have insisted they won't sell the team.

To make their case to the NBA, Johnson said, local backers will stress the strength of the fan base, the fact that Sacramento is in a top-20 media market with no other pro sports team, and the new surge of support from businesses.

Indiana Pacers point guard Darren Collison said he expects to play Thursday in Game 3 against Chicago after spraining his left ankle during Game 2 on Monday.

Downie, Kunitz suspended for next Lightning-Penguins game

Tampa Bay's Steve Downie and Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz each have been suspended for one game for hits they delivered during Game 3 of the first-round NHL playoff series between the Lightning and Penguins. Each will sit out Wednesday's Game 4.

Downie was banned for leaving his feet and launching himself at the head of Pittsburgh's Ben Lovejoy during the first period of the Lightning's 3-2 loss on Monday night. Kunitz was disciplined for elbowing Tampa Bay's Simon Gagne in the head later in the period.

Boston Marathon wants world-record recognition for Mutai

Boston Marathon officials say they will apply to the international track governing body to have Geoffrey Mutai's winning time of 2 hours 3 minutes 2 seconds certified as a world record.

IAAF rules say the Boston course is ineligible to set a record because it is technically downhill. The course's layout also allows for a tailwind that wouldn't be possible on a loop course like the governing body prefers.

But Boston officials say that the 115-year history of the race shows it is not an artificially fast course.

Mutai and second-place finisher Moses Mosop, both Kenyans, both broke Haile Gebrselassie's sanctioned world record of 2:03:59.

Marathoner Grete Waitz dead at 57

Marathon legend Grete Waitz died Tuesday at age 57 in a hospital in her native Oslo after a six-year battle with cancer. Obituary, AA6

Monfil, Almagro advance at Barcelona Open

Gael Monfils rallied to beat Robin Haase in three sets and Nicolas Almagro defeated Pablo Andujar in second-round matches at the Barcelona Open.

Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych pulled out of the event earlier Tuesday, Murray because of an elbow injury and Berdych because of a stomach virus.

In the opening round, Milos Raonic beat Radek Stepanek, Richard Gasquet beat Juan Ignacio Chela and former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero defeated Xavier Malisse.

Anna Chakvetadze of Russia fell ill and had to retire from her first-round match at the Porsche Grand Prix at Stuttgart, Germany, the third straight tournament she's had to quit in because of dizzy spells.

The 2012 Para-cycling track world championships will be held at Home Depot Center's velodrome Feb. 10-12.

The event in Carson will be the final qualifying event for American athletes to be nominated to the U.S. team that will compete at the Paralympic Games in London. The competition will include 230 athletes from 30 countries.

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