As the Kings Arena Saga Turns

HANG TIME WEST – In summation: This is why it has taken about 10 years to get even this far on a new Sacramento arena.

Not money, though that has obviously been a factor in recent years. Not the NBA wanting the Kings to leave for a bigger market, despite how many people in Sacramento screeched such a claim in conjunction with the cries of big-market (Lakers! Lakers!) favoritism.

It’s that Kings management and local leaders can’t get out of their own way. As in the city offering a poorly written ballot measure in 2006 that could have closed the deal before the economy and the team went in the tank, as in the Kings owners contributing to the election defeat four years ago with an ill-timed burger commercial that flaunted their wealth at the same time taxpayers were being asked to dig deep, and now, as in the same Maloofs regurgitating much of the good will that had just been won. This is why.

Here they are, an agreement in place, funding under way, co-owner Gavin Maloof getting loud ovations at City Council meetings, mayor Kevin Johnson being cheered at Power Balance Pavilion… and stop the clock. Time for another layer of absurdity.

The Maloofs are objecting to paying $3.26 million toward pre-development work. That’s serious pocket change in the real world, but in their universe, it’s less than they pay occasional starters. It’s a small fraction of the $75 million they’ve committed to construction.

Or: Just maybe these details should have been worked out before the sides announced the romance was back on and rose petals fell from the sky.

Then, in the real new layer of incompetence, Maloof spokesman Eric Rose told the Los Angeles Times that “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.” Meaning relocation. 

In a telephone interview, George Maloof  told TNT analyst David Aldridge that the Maloof Family remained committed to paying the $73 million it said it would pay as part of the $400 million arena. But the family is adamant that it will not pay the $3.26 million in pre-development fees.
  “We said he have the framework for a deal,” George Maloof said. “We never said we had a definitive agreement, with the understanding that we had a lot of work to be done.”
  George Maloof said that the Maloofs also objected to the stipulation that they would repay AEG the $3.26 million it put up for pre-development costs if the arena project were to fall through.
  “We’ve never seen a situation when  tenant pays non-development costs,” he said. “Not only that, but paying AEG back their portion…that was kind of strange.”
   Maloof said he hoped the issue would be resolved before next month’s Board of Governors meeting. But even though the league fronted the Maloofs the pre-development money, the family does not want to put any of its money into that phase of the construction.
   “That was a nice gesture,” he said of the league’s payment. “I think they’re trying to keep the process going. But they’re fully aware of our position.”

A fragile arrangement is 99.8 percent complete, and this Rose guy is flashing gasoline and a blowtorch. He will not kill the deal because Johnson is playing above Rose’s head and commissioner David Stern will decide whether to have him for lunch or dinner, but some of the reclaimed Maloof popularity just went away.

The deal is nowhere close to being derailed. The league is advancing the Maloofs’ initial portion – the Sacramento Bee puts it at $200,000 – with the good possibility that a phone call from Stern to a Maloof ended with someone on the West Coast hanging up with a bloody ear. Something along the lines of “And tell your spokesman to zip it” may also have come up.

The Kings are waving the Seattle/Anaheim card just as the 2012-13 season-ticket drive gets under way. Genius marketing. How many lost sales before it adds up to $3.26 million? How many wasted shining moments before more fans have been turned off? How many more years?


  1. Troy Rivers says:

    George Maloof is not the wizard of business that he has been made out to be! Why he was made point man for this whole process has bothered me since it was announced. All reports have indicated he went along with the obey year extension kicking and screaming. The latest reports that surfaced re: this have his fingerprints all over it! I believe that Joe & Gavin truly want this to happen but, they are keeping their mouths shut for unknown reasons (family loyalty?). Sacramento fans will forgive “the Brothers” but not. George! Put a muzzle on him and have him concentrate on The Palms! Maybe he will lose the family’s remaining 2% they own in that venture!

  2. anaheim says:

    hey, anaheim knows how to win. we won a stanley cup and the world series. We can win. bring us a team we will win.

  3. Cactusball says:

    This situation is getting out of hand.

    Everytime there is a snag in the system they shouldn’t be threatening the city with the worst-case scenario. I understand that this money wasn’t a part of the original deal, but how much money is it going to cost to relocate? They have already contributed so much money they would be absolutely foolish to pull out on the deal now.

    And if you HAVE to move the team, don’t relocate within California to Anaheim, the only fans you will gain are defecting from the Lakers or Clippers. Move the team to Seattle, a city that CLEARLY wants basketball back due to their abysmal Mariners.

  4. If you Build It they will come... says:

    The arena will definetly be built. It’s not a matter of where or when (SAC, 2015-2016) but rather for how much. The Maloofs may be rich, but they make a pitance compared to some of the other NBA owners. Mark Cuban is a billionaire as is Mikhail Prokorov. The Maloofs don’t come close and they’ve definetly felt the financial pinch. It seems ridiculous that they would quibble over what we may see as chump change to them, but it matters. They may yet see the error of their ways in chickening out but somebody has to foot the bill and they’re in the position to do it.