Posts Tagged ‘George Maloof’

Mayor: Sacramento Arena Deal Is Dead

HANG TIME WEST – Negotiations between the Kings and city officials to keep the NBA in Sacramento suffered another serious blow Friday as mayor Kevin Johnson said attempts to re-work the deal have failed.

After meeting with Kings co-owner George Maloof for the second day in a row, Johnson said at a press conference that differences over plans to build a new downtown arena are “irreconcilable.”

“We know this door is closed,” the mayor added, as quoted by the Sacramento Bee.

It was not immediately clear, however, whether Johnson, the former Suns All-Star point guard, believed there is no hope of any deal with the Maloofs or whether it is the current frame work that cannot be saved. It is obviously an important distinction, especially at a time negotiations have been so publicly nasty and both sides have retracted previous statements and gone back to the negotiating table.

Eric W. Rose, a spokesman for the Maloofs, said no further meetings are scheduled, and the family has constantly stated it has no plans to file for relocation. Johnson said he would move forward with plans to build a new arena without the Kings.

“The Kings will continue the operations of the organization and building on the franchise’s young nucleus of players,” Rose said.

Thaw In Sacramento Arena Stalemate

SACRAMENTO, Calif – Bringing a much-needed splash of hope to the negotiations turned ugly, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson met with Kings co-owner George Maloof on Friday in Las Vegas in the first sign either side is trying to resuscitate the collapsed arena talks.

Maloof spokesman Eric Rose said the meeting lasted nearly an hour and was “cordial,” but that “nothing definitive resulted.” That it ended without ambulances being called, though, qualifies as progress considering the level of acrimony between the sides, turning a meeting uneventful in terms of actual arena progress into a meaningful step.

“I thought it was really important to kind of have an honest and frank discussion, and I thought we were able to do that, re-establish communication,” Johnson said during a sideline press gathering during halftime of the Kings-Thunder game. “We didn’t get into the core principles of the deal. That wasn’t what it was about today. It was really us just sitting down face to face and talking about the possibilities. I felt very good. I felt, again, we had a very productive meeting. It was a solid step forward, enough that we’re going to continue to have a conversation early next week.”


The Maloofs Appear, Kinda Sorta

HANG TIME WEST – The Maloof brothers showed at Power Balance Pavilion on Sunday afternoon, which is saying something. Most tracking the Sacramento arena debacle would have given long odds on Joe or Gavin attending another game this season, especially the way they stayed out of view after their plan to move to Anaheim became public late in 2010-11. But there they were for the Kings-Trail Blazers matinee.

Sort of.

The Maloofs watched from their suite with security stationed outside, rather than the front-row center-court seats they used, in some coincidence, while being celebrated as conquering heroes after reaching an agreement to build a new arena and keep the team in town. Same thing through the years – very visible with the winning times, noticeably scarce through the drought that followed.

The Maloofs get it. They get they are unpopular, and that is a particularly difficult thing for Joe and Gavin, nice people who would have been better served through the years if they would, or could, be more cutthroat with business decisions. They are good cop while someone else, maybe another executive and more recently brother George, played the heavy.

Joe and Gavin, the most visible members of the family that owns the team, understand the level of contempt for the family name in the Sacramento area, though no one can truly measure the depths of the distaste. Not without drilling to the inner core of the Earth. It’s why they considered attending the 2010-11 finale but eventually thought better and stayed away from what could have been the last Kings game in town, and it’s why they showed Sunday (but didn’t really).


Kings, NBA Reach Agreement On New Arena In Sacramento

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.— The fourth-quarter rally led by LeBron James in the 61st NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night was impressive, but not quite enough.

On Monday afternoon, Mayor Kevin Johnson, a three-time former All-Star himself, showed how to close the deal in announcing a handshake deal with the Maloof family that will build a new downtown arena and keep the Kings in Sacramento.

“I really want to jump up and down right now, because I’m so excited,” said a smiling Johnson, standing in a hallway of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where the sides had been meeting for the past two days.

“It’s a new day for Sacramento.  We’ve all been working around the clock to get to this point and it’s going to be a defining moment for our community. We have the framework of an agreement going forward.”

According to Joe Maloof, his family will make an upfront contribution of $73-million to the $387-million arena project. George Maloof said that the family will contribute roughly another $75-million over the life of the agreement.  The additional money will be funded by a surcharge on tickets for arena events.

“Our family is just so excited,” said Joe Maloof.  “We have a framework for a deal.  We always said we wanted to stay in Sacramento and now here’s our opportunity.”

That opportunity hardly seemed likely less than a year ago when talks between the Maloofs and the city were not fruitful and the family began to entertain offers to relocate the team to Anaheim, Calif.

The sides were working under a March 1 deadline set by the NBA in order for the details of a deal to be reached or the league would have cleared a path for relocation.

“(The Maloofs) have been a part of the glory years of Sacramento,” Johnson said. “They’ve been part of the ups and downs and they said that they always wanted to be in Sacramento,” Johnson said.  “They are the ones that decided not to file for relocation last May.  Had they filed, we wouldn’t be in this position. But they said they were going to give us a year.”

When the Sacramento city council votes, as expected, to approve the deal on March 6, it will likely dash the hopes of not only Anaheim, but Seattle as well.  NBA commissioner David Stern had said over the weekend that a new ownership group for the New Orleans Hornets is expected to be approved soon, eliminating them for potential relocation, and the league has no plans for expansion beyond its current 30 teams.

“I think when we left Sacramento and came to Orlando, you guys asked me how close were we,” Johnson said.  “I thought it was a free throw and you need to make two free throws.  I think the city made the first free throw and the Maloof family made the second free throw.  It’s game-over, so our community should be really, really excited.”

Both sides said Stern was a driving force in the bringing the deal to a successful conclusion in the final days and the commissioner said that was the mandate given to him by the league’s owners.

“From an NBA perspective, the owners … authorized me to be as supportive as we can possibly be in this process so that we could cement the future of the NBA in Sacramento.  I’ve had the great pleasure, tuxedo and all, of opening up two arenas and I’m looking forward to opening up a third in Sacramento.

“That was my hope last April when it came to a head. That’s what we’ve spent a year doing. There have been some who suggested it was a fool’s errand, but I don’t think any of us felt the least bit foolish.  We think this was a worthy cause, a worthy goal and if you bang your head against the wall enough, you get good results.”

Johnson said his confidence grew during the day-long negotiations on Sunday.

“They’ve said all along that they wanted to be in Sacramento and we just had to put a deal together that made sense to them,” he said.  “When I heard them say that yesterday, that just gave me the certainty that there was a sincere effort on everyone’s part to be in Sacramento.”

Johnson characterized the deal as “something bigger than basketball,” a spur to the renewal of downtown Sacramento.

Stern said the agreement would lead to Sacramento having an NBA celebration like the one that just concluded in Orlando.

“We’re talking about hotel stock right now and we’re working on it,” he said.  “We’ll turn downtown into a festival of All-Star Weekend eventually.”

Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof literally shed tears of joy at the announcement, taking nearly a minute to compose himself before TV cameras.

“I think it’s great for our community,” he said. “I’m glad that it’s finally coming to an end after 13 years.”