If they renovate it, will the NBA come?

The groundbreaking ceremony outside Honda Center on Wednesday was for a $20 million arena renovation project, which will benefit customers who attend NHL games, concerts and other events in a building that will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year.

But there also appeared to be a not-so-hidden message behind the carefully staged photo op in which Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli, arena executives and Anaheim politicians wearing yellow hardhats posed with gold-plated shovels:

Let’s show the NBA we’re ready and waiting.

And it’s safe to assume the photos and video already have reached Sacramento and the NBA offices in New York.

It was nine months ago that the Sacramento Kings owners ended protracted negotiations with Anaheim Arena Management, the Samueli-owned company that owns and operates Honda Center for the City of Anaheim, on the morning of the relocation deadline in May.

But Henry Samueli made it clear Wednesday that he remains committed to bringing an NBA franchise to Anaheim, even if it’s not the Kings.

– Reported by Randy Youngman of theĀ Orange County Register