What viable Sacramento Kings arena plan?

It’s increasingly apparent that, if there’s a slim chance for Sacramento to keep its Kings, 99.9 percent of all hope hinges on how much money taxpayers will be willing to give up for a new downtown arena.

Or, in other words, how much dough the mayor, the NBA, Ron Burkle and Mark Mastrov can shake Sacramentans down for.

That seemed to be the game this past weekend, when Mayor Kevin Johnson was again at the NBA All-Star festivities, this time lobbying franchise owners. On Sunday, he tweeted that his main selling point to keep the Kings was that Sacto has a “viable arena plan.”

Wait, we have a viable arena plan? Yes, there was last year's “deal” with the Maloofs, but that was so soft and loose, it made Silly Putty jealous.

Anyway, this weekend the city arena-subsidy debate returned. Even mayoral henchman and Think Big Sacramento front guy R.E. Graswich was tweeting how “public money will no doubt be part of bid. … Work with parameters set in 2012.”

Hold on: Oft-rumored “whales” and possible Kings suitors Burkle and Mastrov have more personal wealth than the Cayman Islands' GDP. Should Sacramentans still have to fork over a $300 million ransom?

Meanwhile, there's a full court of unanswered hypothetical downtown-arena questions: With last year's rail-yards deal, the city would own the arena; won't Burkle and Mastrov or the Downtown Plaza's new boss, JMA Ventures, want to own it? Also, if we destroy Downtown Plaza, won't the city lose parking revenue? And will the mayor still be able to cajole five votes out of the new-look council? (Probably, although I would hope that Steve Cohn, Darrell Fong, Steve Hansen, Kevin McCarty and Bonnie Pannell vote no to a Burkle-Mastrov arena subsidy.)

Maybe it's too late, though: We did already show our cards.