Downtown Plaza has been in Sacramento longer than the Kings – and is facing many of the same questions about its viability.

Maybe the two are made for each other.

The 42-year-old mall, humbled by a decadelong exodus of shoppers and tenants, is suddenly gaining favor as a possible home for the troubled sports franchise.

Ron Burkle, the billionaire contemplating a bid that could keep the team from moving to Seattle, promoted the Downtown Plaza site in a recent closed-door meeting with NBA Commissioner David Stern.

City Manager John Shirey is preparing to study how an arena could fit at the mall. JMA Ventures, the mall's new owner, commissioned its own study and was "pleasantly surprised by the results," JMA president Todd Chapman said last week.