By Miles Liatos  Sports Radio KJR

At the beginning of the Kings-to-Seattle escapade, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson told Seattle not to get its hopes up; the Kings would be staying in Sacramento.

And no one in Seattle believed him.

But now it’s appearing more likely that the Kings could keep its residence in Northern California. A piece by Ailene Voison in the Sacramento Bee made the case of the Kings franchise being given “every opportunity to keep the team.” The article was mentioned by Mitch Levy on Mitch in the Morning today.

The Maloof family, the Kings’ owners, have set a 5pm deadline today for the Kings to submit an offer to match the Chris Hansen-Steve Ballmer bid. If they are able to submit a matching offer, Voison said, the team is much more likely to stay.

“On Thursday, sources close to the Maloofs said that if the Sacramento group submits a matching offer that satisfies the league's other owners, they will embrace an outcome that keeps the Kings in Sacramento,” the article said.

Mitch analyzed the piece on the show this morning.

“This makes it sound like they’re okay with either (offer), and they’re okay with the team staying in Sacramento if the deal is sweet enough,” he said.

Another article written by Sam Amick of USA Today suggests David Stern has more power in the deal than he is letting on. After the presentations by the Sonics group and the Kings group to the NBA April 3, Stern deflected notions he would be involved in the relocation.

“My role is to make sure that they (the ownership groups) focus on the issues,” Stern said. “I don’t think they need to be influenced.”

But Amick said Stern has a stake in the Seattle-Sacramento warfare he hasn’t mentioned.

“The growing sentiment from all sides is the commissioner, who has always been clear about his distaste for relocation, is determined to avoid having a sixth team change cities on his watch,” Amick wrote.

Based on what happened when the Sonics were uplifted to Oklahoma City, it would appear a Sonics return is all but imminent. Because of the leverage being awarded to Sacramento, and the possible influence of David Stern, the relocation could be anything but imminent.

To access the aforementioned articles, visit these links for The Sacramento Bee and USA Today.