Posts Tagged ‘Joe Maloof’

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).


Future Of Kings, Hornets — And Stern’s Exit Plan — Among BOG Issues

NEW YORK – With labor strife quelled for nearly the next five years — until the league’s hard-fought collective bargaining agreement can be reopened in 2017 — the business of this week’s Board of Governors meeting might seem less pressing than the sessions that preceded this post-lockout season.

But don’t tell that to the NBA fans in Sacramento and New Orleans.

The long-term viability of both franchises was in play as the owners met in midtown Manhattan Thursday and Friday. There also was expected to be discussion of a controversial marketing initiative — selling sponsorship space on game jerseys. And then there is the nagging matter of commissioner David Stern’s exit strategy, which could trigger in a matter of months or, more likely, the next few seasons. Stern has said repeatedly that he will retire before the next CBA gets negotiated.

For now, the commissioner probably would be happy just to shed his owner/CEO role with the Hornets, an arrangement that reached its peak awkwardness in December when he stepped in to reject a trade that would have sent All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers. Paul eventually was sent to the other L.A. team, the Clippers, amid much clamor and the goal of finding new ownership for New Orleans gained a new urgency.

The NBA has owned and operated the Hornets since December 2010. But Stern said at All-Star Weekend that two possible buyers had emerged; a winner might be announced today, Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans Times-Picayune wrote:

It appears the league might be ready to choose between an offer from a group headed by California swimwear manufacturer Raj Bhathal that will include former Hornets minority owner Gary Chouest, and a bid from New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson.


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.”

Only A Matter Of Time For Westphal


HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The news that the Kings relieved Paul Westphal of his duties earlier this afternoon didn’t even rate a raised eyebrow here at the hideout.

“What took so long?” someone shouted from the back.

Was there any other possible outcome in a situation that had become a certifiable mess in recent days?

The Kings’ 2-5 start to this season coupled with Westphal’s repeated clashes with second-year big man DeMarcus Cousins will no doubt be held up as reasons for his dismissal, and they had to play a factor in this decision.

But his 51-120 record in two-plus seasons was bound to cost him his job sooner rather than later (and now Keith Smart assumes those duties for the team). It was only a matter of time for Westphal, who you should have known would not finish the season on the Kings’ bench after the craziness that transpired last weekend (when he said Cousins demanded a trade, Cousins was suspended and then comes back to the team and denies Westphal’s claim).


Kings’ Cousins Demands Trade

In a strange moment even by the standards of their relationship that has tested the limits of patience, the Kings announced Sunday that problem-child DeMarcus Cousins was suspended for that night’s game against the Hornets and that Cousins has “demanded” to be traded.

It is not known whether the second-year center was suspended without pay or told to stay away in the latest attempt to impose discipline on a prospect so lacking in structure. It is also not known for certain whether Cousins actually demanded, asked, hinted or used a Ouija board to ask for a trade – his agent, John Grieg, denied there was any such request, according to Sam Amick of, and said “Maybe Westphal is just feeling the heat early this season.”

Whatever the impetus of the latest breakdown, a lot of front offices around the league are knowingly nodding their heads. Cousins was the second-best talent in the 2010 draft, at worst, and maybe equal or ahead of No. 1 pick John Wall, but went fifth to Sacramento because of issues that ranged from attitude to inability to always play hard. Cousins had the talent to reach the All-Star game but the personality and approach to get some GM fired.

The Kings took the risk with the understanding a lot of patience would be required, then got exactly the rookie season and opening weeks to the second campaign that should have been expected: Cousins had some good moments that were countered by a level of immaturity that could make him one of the great underachievers.


The Start of Something New … Maybe

The announcement Monday that the Kings will stay in Sacramento at least one more season only seemed like a continuation — same team with the same owners in the same city in 2011-12 with the same uncertainty about the future centered on the same old arena. In reality, this is anything but a constant.

Most of all, these were different Maloofs. The primary owners, brothers Joe and Gavin Maloof, have historically led with their emotions, which has both served them well and caused problems, but the decision to not file relocation papers was all about the sound call. When the time came, they followed their heads instead of their hearts when it was obvious this was the very wrong time to move to Anaheim.

This was the exact opposite of overpaying to keep players, in a series of contracts that took the Kings years to untangle, or putting friends with little qualification high on the list of coaching candidates. Staying may have been frustrating and even a letdown because the Maloofs desperately, and understandably, wanted a resolution. But the family chose to regroup rather than fight the city of Sacramento and, more importantly, fight the league concerned about a third team in the Los Angeles-Anaheim market.


Blogtable: Kings’ future

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Sacramento’s Kings possibly (probably?) moving to Anaheim: Depressing, alarming, no biggie … or what?

Steve Aschburner: Disappointing. The answer to the NBA’s small-market problem isn’t to shed the small markets. The answer is to negotiate a system with the players that enables the little towns to compete in the standings and for marquee guys. Sacramento has been a rabid NBA town in the past and that sort of enthusiasm needed to be nurtured and protected, not frittered away by a franchise headed south (on the court and on the map).

Fran Blinebury: Cincinnati to Kansas City/Omaha to Sacramento to Anaheim.  Shouldn’t the NBA insist that the franchise at least install wheels to make all these moving days easier? As one who was at the first playoff series in Sac between the Kings and Rockets in 1986 and at the epic series with the Lakers in 2002, I’ll miss the kind of passion that only comes in a one-team town.  I already miss the bagel dogs at the old Arco Arena. (more…)