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David Stern provides cover if Maloofs want out of Sacramento

Oct 1, 2010, 12:41 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for maloof_brothers.jpgThe death of the Cal Expo plan is bad news — very bad news — if you’re a Kings fan living in Sacramento.

Look at what NBA Commissioner David Stern told the Sacramento Bee Friday.

“No one is packing up and backing up the trucks,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said Thursday, referring to the latest failed arena deal involving a three-way land swap, “but we just don’t have any new ideas. There were several good ones reduced to the convergence plan, and everyone got behind it except for one enterprise (Cal Expo). Cal Expo exhausted us. If something comes up that’s workable, we would be all for it. But we don’t see anything workable right now.”

That sounds a lot like cover if the Maloofs (the brothers who own the Kings) do decide to leave town. “Hey, we tried, we really did, but you need a new building and you can’t get one there.”

There are NBA ready buildings in Anaheim and Kansas City. Other cities such as Las Vegas are looking into building one. The options are out there.

It’s not fair to the fans of Kings — that is a strong and loyal fan base. They filled the building when the team was good and have not deserted them in years and years of rough times. There is a real excitement in the city around the team becoming good again.

And it could be gone. A Seattle Sonics fan writing to TrueHoop summed it perfectly, “The NBA does. not. care.”

The NBA is a business, and don’t ever forget it. Basketball is simply the product being sold. Right now it needs to be sold to the people and corporations that can buy luxury suites and the high-end premiere ticket packages. That is where the revenue is, that is the goose laying the golden egg. If you don’t have an arena with those things — and a market of people who will buy them — then the league is gone. History and memory be damned.

Sacramento fans, maybe Mayor Kevin Johnson can pull something out. But David Stern just provided cover fire for the Maloofs. And that is a very bad sign.

  1. Axe Head - Oct 1, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    As a former Sonics fan, I have gotten over the move. I am also much less invested in the NBA. No, I am not completely indifferent, I still love basketball, but if it blew up and disappeared, I’m not sure I wouldn’t give a good hearty “harumph!” and say, “good riddance, David Stern, you Shylock!”

  2. chris - Oct 1, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    While it is hard to do, you have to think beyond David Stern and imagine what the league COULD be like when his swarmy little butt is gone. Yes, HE doesn’t care about the fans because he is spending all his time supporting a business model that doesn’t pencil out unless cities/states buy owners new arenas. Unlike the NFL, the NBA doesn’t have control of their finances and you will see knuckleheads like Jerome James earn 7 million a year and score 2 points a game.
    The average salary in the NBA is 4.3 million with 13 guys on each roster. If the average salary was 1 million less per player, the league would have the funds to build a brand new arena every year so that each team got a new place to play every 30 years.
    No taxpayers needed… but to buy tickets.

  3. MikeM - Oct 1, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    Not to be forgotten here is that the latest proposal to be rejected called for the State to sell property and move to a far smaller piece of land, and then for local developers and the Maloofs to have access to those profits so they could build their arena.
    Naturally, the Board that would surrender those profits overwhelmingly voted against it. What would you have done?
    “Tell you what, you sell your house, I’ll buy you a new, smaller house in a less desirable area, and I’ll keep the profits. Deal?”
    Stern’s statement is all the more insulting when you consider this context.

  4. erinmccas - Nov 29, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    David Stern. The guy has proven one of the main reasons why teams are disappearing from their hometowns. First he did away with the Sonics a few years ago, and now the same effect is being seen with teams such as the Sacramento Kings. The city of Seattle knew that ever since day one, he had every intention in keeping his connections with his select few and that’s wrong.

    Not to belittle the people of Oklahoma City, for I am sure they are grateful for the Thunder, but that was our team in Seattle. Throughout my childhood, I grew up a huge Sonics fan. I’ve seen so many games I can’t even recall how many, and if not in person, then I watched many of them on TV. I remember at the age of nine, being chosen to give the players high fives as they called out the starting line-up at Key Arena. The excitement built up in me from the cheering around me and the split-second touch of the hand of Gary “Glove” Payton, #20. I thought, “Wow, they are so awesome!” Fans from all communities, no matter race or age, would all come together in that arena and pack the place. Everyone always had a darn good time while cheering on one of the oldest teams in the NBA. But now, all that love is gone in Seattle. Thanks to David Stern and his secret relations with Clay Bennett, that passion has all been stolen.

    And now it’s likely to happen again, people. The story sounds familiar. NBA Owner cries poverty, and says the team needs a new arena. Team attendance is dwindling, and speculation swirls about moving the team. But this isn’t Seattle, it is happening in Sacramento. The magic has moved, and Sacramento is on the bandwagon for disappearance as well. Just like we asked in Seattle, where is it all going? The Sonics had been settled in Key Arena for forty freaking years! That’s a full quarter of Seattle history. What kind of person supports that move? One answer comes to mind: NBA commissioner David Stern. The city of Sacramento has had an NBA franchise since 1985, when the Kings came from Kansas City. They’ve played since 1988 in Arco Arena and now the arena is not up to par in terms of current standards and a new arena is needed to keep the team there.

    When someone asked David Stern about the Sacramento Kings during a conference call, it ironically sounded like the Sonics’ situation a few years ago. In addressing the Sacramento area issues, Stern said “We got a sort of disappointing update with respect to the building situation in Sacramento… My optimism on there being a new building has faded completely.” However, he sure didn’t sound disappointed. He’s just some phony guy that wants to take another team away from its beloved fans. Some jerk who says we can’t come up with an adequate arena to house his “luxury suites and shopping malls”. A liar who said he would do what he could to make things work in Seattle… how could we believe a word he said?

    David Stern said his hopes for a new arena in Sacramento have “faded completely.” He sent the exact same message to the Seattle Sonics. The Kings are the only major-league team in Sacramento that fans regard as part of their identity. There is zero chance the Sacramento arena issue gets any positive reinforcement. With the Kings, it’s a local issue and nothing more. But that won’t stop the devil from finding a way to export them. Remaining hope is disappearing after countless failed arena proposals by the city and the team. When David Stern thinks there is hope, he leaves a team alone. Now that he doesn’t think there is hope, he said so.

    Is it a done deal the Kings are leaving? No. But is it likely? Probably and that truly sucks. Sacramento has one thing going for it. Seattle has, or had three big franchises. Sacramento has one. If the Sacramento Kings are to leave the city, they should run themselves out of town. It should not be another arena problem, when the one who oversees everything and is constantly complaining is the guy at the source of the problems, good ol’ David Stern. I think maybe it’s time we vote to oust David Stern like he is doing with Sacramento!

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