Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
The Maloofs are at it yet again.
You may remember that the Maloofs were applauded for their All-Star Weekend deal to build a new arena in Sacramento, ending speculation that they were trying to move the team to Aneheim in an effort to make more money. The Maloofs were loved by the Kings fans for keeping the team where they were adored. But now, according to NBC Sports’ Pro Basketball Talk, the owners seem to have backtracked on wanting to keep the Kings in Sacramento. The article states,”Today, (the Maloofs) returned to New York to pitch the idea that they were somehow wronged during the past month’s negotiations with the city of Sacramento over a new arena.”
The NBC Sports report also stated that the Maloof’s were complaining that there was a “giant shadow” over the deal, causing a delay in the new deal. The Maloof’s were specifically talking about the group STOP (Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork), which has tried to bring the new arena deal to a public vote by way of a petition. Now, if the group were to gain the 30,000 necessary signatures, it could pose a problem.
But, the petition filed by the group was recently removed by the court, rendering the legal document useless. Thus, the petition group is no longer really a threat towards a delaying the project. The group also does not appear to be a respectable one, as they do not have much support and had “a group of 10 people” at their last meeting, which is a long way away from 30,000. Yet, the Maloofs still insist that STOP is some sort of huge threat.
Hit the jump for the rest of Ian’s piece…
Also, while complaining about STOP and the delay they could cause, the Maloofs themselves are causing a problem with development for the new arena. They are on a tight deadline to get things done, something they claim to not be very comfortable with, yet they refuse to pay the $3.26 Million pre-development costs. All this does is jam things up even more. Let me summarize just to get this into perspective: While already complaining about how the arena may not get done in time, they continue to create new delays and dilemmas of their own, ultimately destroying their own cause.
Keep in mind though, that the Maloofs came out and shown support for the deal. According to Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, “”The Maloofs explicitly stated and agreed that the deal was a fair deal.” There was also the emotional Gavin Maloof who, after the deal was struck, wept in front of the media as he told them of the news of a new deal. But, the Maloofs apparently now feel wronged by the whole deal and want to back out. According to The Sacramento Bee, the Maloofs said that they want to stay in Sacramento, and that at this moment they would be open to renovating ARCO Arena, because it would be more economically feasible. George Maloof was also quoted telling reporters: “Why put the pressure on the citizens of Sacramento when we can all figure this out and maybe just do it at Power Balance Pavilion?”
The problem with wanting to renovate is that the same Sacramento Bee story also says that in 2011 a former Kings executive and an architect came to the Maloofs with a proposal to renovate Arco Arena. When the Maloofs were presented this idea, they rejected it, claiming that “a renovation of the existing structure is not an adequate solution,” and this statement puts their current stance on renovation in dispute.
Unfortunately, it looks like the Maloofs have mucked things up enough to ultimately get their original wishes and move to Anaheim. The City of Sacramento seems to be done trying to deal with the Maloofs, as they still will not do anything that will work for everybody. Multiple Sacramento business owners have come to the city and tried to get the family to relinquish ownership and sell the team, but, the Maloofs are not interested in doing that. The city and the NBA both were ready to start the NBA deal. Both sides were invested in it, with Commissioner Stern even working on behalf of the Kings to try and get a deal done. The NBA was even set up to pay $7 Million of it’s own money to finance the deal. But, again, the Maloofs now seem intent on renovating, which no one wants to finance, which would lead to the Maloofs getting the green light to move to Sacramento.
Now, what is the main problem with this? Why, exactly, are the Maloofs being raked over coals for their actions? The Kings are, technically speaking, just a basketball team.
Yes, technically speaking, the Kings are just a basketball team. But, this case is not just a technicality. It may sound cliche, but there is a real deep, raw connection between the Kings and the citizens of the City of Sacramento. Look at the end of the 2011 season, before the arena deal was reached, there was an emotional “last” home game at Arco Arena. Even though the Kings have been a dismal franchise on the court for the past few years, there was the emotional atmosphere of a playoff game. The fans were sent into a frenzy because of their connection with the team. The Kings ended up losing the game, but the result of the game wasn’t the storyline that night. The real story was what happened afterward. Many fans stayed up to an hour after the game to cheer on and say goodbye to their beloved Kings. And the relationship is not a one-way-street either. After the game, fan favorite players came out to greet the fans and say goodbye to them. The whole team sensed how the fans thought of them, and Coach Paul Westphal summed it up best when he choked out the words “”We could feel the love out there.” in his post-game press conference. Can you imagine both sides having to re-live these feelings again? Neither side wants each other to leave, yet they are being torn away by the ruthless Maloofs who are moving for their own self-serving reasons.
Another way this is terrible is because of what it will do to the actual city of Sacramento. Many people counted on the new arena deal to be a new source of income. Currently there is a 12% unemployment rate in Sacramento, which could (would?) have gone down, at least temporarily with the development and construction of the new arena. The new, downtown, arena was expected to raise property values by hundreds of millions, helping to bring a starving economy back to life. No matter what happens, this city and this team has been put through the ringer by the Maloofs; and it is safe to say that they are not currently they are not welcome in Sacramento. Nor will they be for a long, long time.