The Sacramento Kings are soon to be the Seattle Whatchamacallits. The Maloof family, two brothers who own the Kings, have agreed to sell the controlling interest of the team to a group that plans on moving the franchise to the rainy city. So while Seattle is getting reimbursed for having a franchise swept from underneath them, Sacramento is losing one because of their owners’ ability to be as free with their money as Manti Te’o is at telling fibs.
This isn’t about which city deserves a team more. It could be made about the owners claiming poverty but somehow a poorly run franchise like the Kings getting sold for a cool $525 million, it’s not that either. It’s simple really, it’s how horrible owners can ruin an entire city’s goodwill. How two “gambling” brothers can run a team to the ground with their ineptness. That the NBA, and David Stern, would allow these people whose primary business was in a city the league fears(Las Vegas) own a team to start with.
These are the same Maloof brothers who have tried to relocate this team to a number of different cities. The hot bed of basketball called Virginia Beach, Anaheim, among others were all destination spots for the Maloof family. Their public shopping of the team was all done while the mayor of Sacramento and former NBA player, Kevin Johnson, was doing his best to keep the team in Sacramento.
The Maloof brothers tried to play the attendance card, that not enough folks were showing up for games. They were half-correct. The fans could only put up with failure for so long. They kept going to their King’s games while losing, but after a lengthy period of time, they decided their money was best served not going to see the best NBDL team in the country. But in all of the Maloofs’ wisdom, they tried to blame this on the city.
Let’s not forget, no matter which of the millions of cities they pitched it, the brothers tried to have every city fund THEIR new arena. It’s not a new idea in any sport for a city to split the bill for a new arena, but they expected the city to carry the majority of the burden.
Reports from the Maloof family camp are going to tell you that any Sacramento based offers came in to late, which might be factually correct. But that would also be ignoring the the deal from just last year where the city and the Maloof family tentatively agreed to a deal where the city would pay(UPFRONT!) $250 million of a $387 million arena, while the Maloof camp would be responsible for only $77 million upfront. The reason for backing out of the deal, none given. Just some nonsense saying their tentative agreement was legally nonbinding. At the time David Stern wasn’t to pleased with the Maloofs. Stern on how unhappy he was after they turned the deal down:
“I think it’s fair for the Maloofs to say they don’t want (to accept the deal). If they had done it simpler, earlier or more directly, it could have saved a lot of angst and trouble.”
The mayor of Sacramento Johnson also had some thoughts:
“They are now saying they don’t want to do the deal, which essentially means they don’t want to be in Sacramento, and that’s very, very disappointing”
However, it’s the Stern now, and not the Stern of WAY back of less then a year ago, who has final veto power of this. The 2013 version of the penguin looking commissioner is one who wants to leave a lasting legacy. His passion and desire for the league to grow is only trumped by his own ego and need to fulfill some grandiose vision he has where a team is located in Seattle. Funny thing about Stern wanting a team so badly in Seattle – he had one. He just decided that a city who refused to pay for a new arena wasn’t worthy of one at the time.
As with everything, it’s all about money and ego. The Maloof brothers need some cash, Seattle has some, Stern needs to fix one of his biggest mistakes as NBA-Head, this is his final opportunity to fix it.
Want to know who they will both blame, Sacramento. Even though if Stern never let two brothers who came from money, but made their bed in gambling, own an NBA franchise, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion to begin with. Or, if Mr. Stern never took a team(Supersonics) from underneath a city(Seattle) because they(Tax payers) didn’t want to fork over their money to line another’s(NBA owner who will immediately cry poverty).
Seattle lost a franchise just a few years ago. Sacramento is about to lose theirs. Stern lost much credibility because of both circumstances.
The Maloofs? Well they’re about to bring in, around, $500 million. I guess they win.
Joe covers the Catholic Seven for Rant Sports while dabbling in a few others. For the love of Sam Cassell, follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone