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Sacramento tells Anaheim to back off, Maloofs get ticked

Mar 29, 2011, 10:11 AM EDT

George Maloof, Gavin Maloof, Joe Maloof AP

As always, it’s about the money. It’s always about the money.

The latest noise in the seemingly inevitable move of the Kings out of Sacramento to Anaheim is that the Sacramento City Manager sent a letter, vaguely threatening legal action, if Anaheim did not back off its efforts to lure the Kings.

The Sacramento Bee had the story.

In a terse letter Monday to Anaheim officials, Assistant City Manager John Dangberg said Anaheim was ignoring the “blighting impacts” that luring the Kings from Sacramento would have on the capital city. The move would cause “irreparable harm,” the letter said.

If, however, Anaheim “insists on continuing the negotiations,” the letter said, that city must require the team to honor its debt to Sacramento.

That debt is a $77 million loan the city gave the Kings in 1996.

The letter was as much a public relations stunt as anything — yet the Maloof brothers (who own the Kings) reacted angrily.

Here is what Joe Maloof said:

“It’s not for the mayor or anybody (in the City of Sacramento) to interfere with our business. That’s what I think they’re doing, and it’s not right,” Maloof told The Orange County Register. “We would appreciate that they not interfere with our business.”

Here is George Maloof to the Sacramento Bee.

“It is interfering with our business,” he said. “We’re going to take every measure possible to protect ourselves. We have no intention of leaving that town without paying our debt. For someone to imply that we are not going to pay our debts, it’s wrong, it’s ridiculous.”

First a word of advice to the Maloofs: Shut up. Do not say another public word until you are on a podium in Anaheim and then only speak glowingly of Sacramento. You can be frustrated with the city and the inability to get a new stadium there, but don’t open your mouths and sound bitter. You are screwing fans in a small market to move to a big one, you cannot win the PR game. You are going to look bad here, whether your reasons for moving are legitimate or not. Whether it works in Anaheim or not. You are moving from Northern California to Southern California and those to markets already don’t like each other. Just don’t aggravate the situation.

Really, for Sacramento this is about the money. They want their $77 million back. If you default on the loan the city gets a $25 million stake in a team (estimated to be worth $293 million by Forbes). A share the city doesn’t want and would be forced to sell, maybe taking more of a loss.

Sacramento had financial reasons to defend itself here, to send off the letter. Much of it was bluster and PR — playing to their audience of pissed off fans who feel their civic pride being attacked — but the financial concerns are real because defaulting on the loan makes financial sense to the Maloofs. They get a $50 million or so swing by defaulting on the loan. So Sacramento’s concern here is legitimate.

The least you can do is pay that loan off to the city on your way out the door. Even if you have to borrow money from a billionaire in another city to do it.

  1. SmackSaw - Mar 29, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    This is starting to look like a divorce.

  2. ibejeph - Mar 29, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    Great. They have a crappy team, bad management, screwing over their fanbase and now are all upset because someone unearthed their plan to screw over the tax payers of Sacramento. Completely unscrupulous.

    But yea, despite all this, the Queens are really going to galvanize a whole bunch of new fans in OC. Right.

    Wasn’t the lone supporter of this move on this forum talking about what terrible individuals the Lakers are? What about billionnaire owners screwing the public out of $50 million?

    • purdueman - Mar 29, 2011 at 3:01 PM

      Would Laker fans care if current owner Dr. Buss was a convicted paroled ax murderer? No-oooo. What do fans really care about when it comes to the ownership of their teams? That they don’t get stuck with a cheap owner like Loria down in Florida (Marlins), who easily could afford to fund a winning team and still make a decent profit, but is far more interested in just making an even bigger profit.

      Oh I’m sure ibej will now post that the Malgoof’s are such owners, but owning a freaking casino and having a franchise valued already at $283M in a small market, one of two things is going to happen: 1) They’ll spend and begin to restock the team again. They’re not as stupid as you think ibej, or they’d be staying in Sactown or (as you previously suggested), moving to another money losing outdated arena in Seattle; or

      2) (as I suspect), they’re going to prop up the value of the franchise (which you don’t do by stripping it all the way down unless you have no choice but to sell), and sell the franchise in the next two to three years.

      Bottom line? As soon as the ink is dry on the Honda Center agreement and the at buzzer has gone off at the end of the last regular season Kings game this year, the moving vans will all be pulling up, loading up, and then heading south! Even Laker fans can’t stop that from happening!

      As the late Chick Hearn liked to say: “The eggs are in the refrigerator, the butter’s getting hard and the jello’s a jigglin!”. EXACTLY!

      • ibejeph - Mar 29, 2011 at 4:52 PM

        I don’t care about the Kings moving here. I really don’t. It’s not my money. What I can’t make sense of is what they hope to accomplish by moving here.

        I’ve posted quite a few rational questions to your outlandish claims and yet to receive a coherent response. Instead you say I’m a Lakers homer (couldn’t be further from the truth) and somehow that makes everything I’m saying wrong.

        To me, it seems a grasp, at best. From what we’ve heard, their casino empire isn’t doing so hot and this year, Kings are second to last in attendance. The Honda Center is ready for a team today but I don’t see how they are going to generate the money.

        Counting this season, the team hasn’t reached the playoffs in 5 years.
        In those 5 years, they’ve burned through 4 coaches and had tremendous personnel turnover.
        Their win totals the last five seasons is pathetic: 33,28,17, 25 and they are on pace to win 21 games this season.

        Would you buy tickets to see such a crappy team? Even with “must see” games, who is going to pay to watch the Kings get stomped on?

        As I said before, this isn’t OKC. Most people do not care enough about sports to give a damn. The rest are already fans of local teams There is a small percentage that would be interested and I think you represent them. I don’t see how this ends with anything other than bankruptcy.

      • purdueman - Mar 29, 2011 at 5:48 PM

        ibej… there’s a famous and timeless line from Shakespeare’s Macbeth that applies here: “Me thinks that the lady doth protest too much!”.

        I say apply, because I think that you’re likely a man, but the message remains on target. If you didn’t care about the Kings moving to Anaheim, you wouldn’t mewl and obsess so much about it.

        And I’ve answered all of your questions, but regardless of how rational my responses have been, you always quickly retort with the old: “I live close to the Honda Center and I know the Orange County people and they won’t support it”, lame argument.

        There are 5M people in Orange and Riverside Counties. How many of them do you know on a personal basis to make such a wild statement? 50? 100? even 250? out of 5 million and that’s your representative sample size? You need to take a statistics class because that just doesn’t wash.

        Put yourself in the Malgoof’s shoes for a moment. Let’s say for the sake of argument that their casino isn’t doing so well and that they as a result having been running the Kings on a shoestring budget.

        You don’t get to the point financially to where you own a casino and an NBA franchise without having some business acumen you know. So if your supposition is accurate (i.e., that they are in trouble financially), if you were they would you in any way jeopardize one of your two major investments that Forbes estimates is worth $293,000,000 by making a spur of the moment impulsive decision that could cost you your investment if you were wrong? (rhetorical question).

        I’m sure that the Malgoof’s accountants and staff have done extensive research on all the available markets (including Sacramento), and came up with the clear cut answer that Anaheim is by far and away the best way to protect, grow and even if need be divest their investment if need be out of all the available markets that have an “NBA ready” arena (meaning lots of luxury seats and a building that’s not about to fall down as the old Arco Arena is reported to be).

        The franchise certainly isn’t going to become worth less moving from a small market to a big one, that’s for sure. So there’s the answer to all your “the Kings won’t be (economically), viable as the third NBA team in the market” arguments and your assertion that my claims are somehow “outlandish” simply because you disagree with me and the Malgoof’s and have your panties all twisted in a knot over it.

        Will I buy tickets to see a crappy team? Absolutely, but initially in all probability to see the other visiting team that they are playing come through town. I love the idea that I’ll now be able to attend an NBA game to see any stars and any teams that I may choose without the enormous hassle of driving up to Staples Center and paying the outrageously high ticket prices (there’s NO WAY the Kings/Royals are going to charge $45/ticket for the worst nosebleed seats in the house as the Lakers currently do).

        The other thing that you seem to fail to grasp (as it sounds from your posts that you are single or at least don’t have any school aged children), is that an NBA game, any NBA game, is great family entertainment when priced correctly. The Honda Center is a terrific facility… much nicer and more intimate than most NBA arena’s and easily accessible from a wide driving perimeter.

        Yes, there are a lot of other entertainment options in Southern California, but do you go to the beach at night? (unless maybe if the grunion are running once or twice a year)? Do you sit out at night poolside getting a suntan? Do you go to a zoo at night? Besides, those aren’t family entertainment options anyways for most families on a work night, whereas taking in an NBA game is.

        The Lakers won’t at all be affected by the Kings move to Anaheim, but I think over time it will have an adverse affect on the Clippers so long as nut-case Donald owns and runs the team.

      • ibejeph - Mar 30, 2011 at 4:12 AM

        My argument is no lamer then your own, claiming that “only” 25% of the entire population of OC has to purchase tickets to make this work. Or that businesses are just going to automatically fork over money to add 81 home games on their already expensive boxes for a terribly run franchise that has zero star power. Or that people with money are going to want to be seen there because we all know wealthy people love to associate with desperate sports teams. Or, with no hint of irony, saying that the Kings can forge a new OC identity by signing old UCLA players.

        Sacramento has no other sports teams at all. The greater Sacramento area has 2.5 million people. By all accounts, they love their Kings but even they couldn’t crack higher than 29 out of 30 teams in attendance with no competition.

        It has nothing to do with the fanbase and everything to do with the product out on the court and that’s what you fail to see. No body wants to pay for crap, certainly not young families. That’s a fact.

        The Angels are successful because they put a quality product on the field. They compete just about every other year and have a solid franchise. They get lots of people going to their games.

        The Kings have shown none of that for a good long time. What are basketball fans going to think of a team that has no coaching consistency, a mismatched roster and long losing streaks? Especially one in the back yard of one of the most famous sports franchises in the world? How much attention do you think they’ll get after the move?

        I’m not going to lie, ill catch a couple games on the TV, watch some Tyreke the Freak but I’m a basketball fan. Ask your typical person off the street who Tyreke is and you’ll get a blank stare because they don’t care. There isn’t any clamoring for another nba team, other than from politicans and billionaires.

      • purdueman - Mar 30, 2011 at 1:23 PM

        ibey… again you continue to mewl and obsess over the Kings moving to Anaheim, something that you claim you don’t care about. Truth is, you’re deeply bothered by it; why not just man-up and come out admit it?

    • mrcowpatty - Mar 30, 2011 at 12:02 AM

      I hear the 49ers are looking for a city to build them a stadium. How about Sacramento?

  3. dolphinatic - Mar 29, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    LOL and the rich get richer at the cost of the tax payer. The Maloof’s are a prime example of what is wrong with this country. I don’t care how “rich” and “successful ” you are. Stealing money by defaulting on that loan is wrong. Moving a 3rd team into that area is wrong. Leaving a fan base that come’s out to see a bad team is wrong. Etc etc. End the era of greed. Maloof is the word for “morally bankrupt”.

  4. purdueman - Mar 29, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    At the concluding buzzer of the Kings NBA season, the moving vans will be rolling up, packing up and moving south with the Malgoofs leading them to Anaheim in their limo up front while singing this familiar tune over a bullhorn mounted on their limo roof as they go:

    Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’

    Keep movin’, movin’, movin’,
    Though OC Laker fans are a disapprovin’,
    Keep them doggies movin’ Anaheim!
    Don’t try to understand ’em,
    Just throw ’em a new Royals shirt and grab ’em,
    Soon we’ll be living high and wide.
    Boy my heart’s calculatin’
    My true love will be waitin’, the Honda Center in Ana-heim!.

    Move ’em on, head ’em up,
    Head ’em up, move ’em out,
    Move ’em on, head ’em out, Ana-heim!
    Set ’em out, ride ’em in
    Ride ’em in, let Sacfans out,
    Cut OC Laker fans out and ride ’em in to Anaheim!

  5. rapmusicmademedoit - Mar 29, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    Yeah, the Lakers are worried about a .500 team.

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