Maloof Brothers Again Play Anaheim Card in Talks to Keep NBA's Kings in Sacramento

Categories: Sports
Once again holding Anaheim up as their pawn, the Maloof brothers reportedly say they are not convinced the city of Sacramento can build a new arena for their NBA Kings by a 2015 deadline and that the Honda Center is still in play.

This deja vu moment is even more deja vu-ier: the NBA is coming to the rescue to preserve a deal between the Maloofs and Sacto reached last month amid tears and fanfare.

"If an arena project cannot be completed by the timeline set by the city, then the Kings would be forced to explore all of their options," Maloof family spokesman Eric Rose tells the Los Angeles Times, which examined documents showing owners Joe and Galvin Maloof believe they have no firm agreement with Sacramento.

"Those discussions have stalled," NBA Commissioner David Stern tells the Sacramento Bee, "but I have advised Mayor [Kevin] Johnson that the NBA will advance pre-development expenses on behalf of the Kings pending our report to the NBA Board of Governors at its meeting on April 12-13."

That $200,000 NBA advance goes toward the $3.26 million in arena pre-development costs the City of Sacramento is obligated to pay under the pact with the Maloofs, raising the question: if you can't pay the initial $200,000 or $3.26 million now, how are you going to pay the remaining $3.06 million in the future?

Enter the Maloofs strong-arming and once again holding Anaheim up as that high school girlfriend they always threaten to throw it all away for if they don't get their way.

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Why any owner (in this case owners) would choose to stay in Sacramento over moving to Anaheim is beyond comprehension. Which makes me wonder, are the "Aloof Brothers" really commited to Sac Town or are they positioning themselves as "the owners that did everything they could to keep the franchise in town", so as to not look like the bad guys when they eventually do move.


I talked with some friends in Sacramento about the arena deal last week. They claimed there is a gross assumption that the new arena is a popular project with the average Sacramento citizen. The city is preparing to close public swimming pools this summer because of financial shortfalls. This is not a popular idea among those who use those facilities when it's a million fricking degrees in Sacramento.The "ace in the hole" for the Maloofs is the fact that mayor Kevin Johnson is a former NBA player. Losing the Kings franchise during Johnson's tenure would be a personal embarrassment, a disappointment for some (definitely not all) of the local businesses and citizens, but not necessarily for the Maloofs.Not as long as their high school girlfriend, Anaheim, keeps waiting by the phone and willing to forgive being jilted. Again.

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