Saturday Apr 14 2012
Fans left in limbo by Maloofs again
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
The Sacramento Kings’ owners pulled bricks from the foundation of Sacramento’s arena deal over the past month, then removed the cornerstone on Friday in New York. Kings fans who were celebrating what they thought was an all-but-done deal just a month ago are now left in limbo again. The future of Sacramento’s basketball team is murky and the arena that would have revitalized the downtown area may never reach the starting line. The Maloofs were on quite a roll during their first six years as owners, beginning in 1999. They signed quality players (Vlade Divac, Chris Webber, Bobby Jackson), and quality people (Rick Adelman,). They said the right things and made a lot of friends and allies in the community. As the product on the court has deteriorated, so has the magic touch the Maloofs once possessed. Nothing could top their latest antics, which go way beyond the public relations disaster. All along during the arena negotiations, the Maloofs seemed cold and detached as Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, other city officials and the region-wide task force poured their passion and effort into finding a way to make a deal. The Maloofs claim the $3 million in pre-development fees they would have to pay is one of their main concerns about the deal. That’s hard to believe. The same owners who have insisted they need a new arena to stay in town are willing to let a $391 million deal fall apart because of a $3 million bill? These are the same guys that green-lighted the infamous Carl’s Jr. commercial featuring the $6,000 combo meal. They are paying Francisco Garcia $6 million next season. Not exactly a shrewd investment. That final $3 mil to get the arena rolling is where they draw the line? The baffling aspect of the developments over the last week is the fact that the Maloofs don’t seem to have a plan. Either that or there are moving vans behind Power Balance Pavilion waiting for the go-ahead to Anaheim and they are flat out lying to everyone. George Maloof suggested Friday that Power Balance could be refurbished, something his brothers Joe and Gavin insisted was impossible for the past decade. Where was that idea last year? At least he made a suggestion. For the past year the owners have acted like that guy at the brainstorming session that shoots down every idea that comes up but never offers any ideas of his own. How has Kevin Johnson not completely lost his cool by now? As the majority owners of the Kings, the Maloofs are well within their rights to call off the deal. The owners can even act like buffoons and alienate fans, confuse city officials and burn bridges. But it seems ludicrous to treat the Sacramento community in this manner and expect people to come out to Power Balance Pavilion and spend money. The Maloofs have repeatedly said they are committed to Sacramento. Actions speak louder than words. The product on the floor is hardly enough to get any self-respecting fan to attend a game the rest of the season. Follow Todd Mordhorst on Twitter @AJToddM.