Apr 4, 2012, 2:42 PM EDT
In a story with many chapters, it’s fitting that the book on the Maloofs’ future in the NBA will be written on April 12-13 at the league’s Board of Governors meetings. After all, it’s where the tide turned for Kings fans last year, as Kevin Johnson came out of nowhere with both the will and the way to buy Sacramento time to get an arena deal done.
And it’s also fitting because a jury of one’s peers can be the most damning of all. It’s at those meetings that we’ll learn if David Stern and the other owners are going to allow their league and its fans to be subjected to reports like the one out of the L.A. Times last Thursday.
In that report, the writer was conveniently given access to letters from the Maloofs’ attorneys and pre-prepared comments from the family’s newly hired “crisis consultant” Eric Rose. Those letters disputed the Maloofs’ responsibility to pay pre-development costs of $3.26 million on the $391 million Entertainment and Sports Complex, or roughly one-fourth of the salary of free agent acquisition/albatross Travis Outlaw.
This, after the city agreed to fork over $256 million and AEG agreed to put in nearly $60 million to build a world-class arena with the Kings’ specific needs at the top of the list.
The most recent letter from Maloof attorney Scott Zolke doubles as a how-to manual on fighting the arena project, writing that the Maloofs are concerned about the project being completed on time while they simultaneously cause a delay by refusing to pay for pre-development costs they had already agreed to conceptually. The Maloofs backed it all up by sending pro-Anaheim brother George on a media blitz telling the world that Kevin Johnson, AEG, David Stern, and everybody that had been diligently working on a deal had it wrong – that nobody had talked about the cost structure of the agreement before barreling out of an Orlando hotel room with tears of joy.
Never mind that George Maloof said himself that the term sheet had been presented to them on February 17, a full 10 days before the handshake agreement took place, and never mind that the Maloofs still want to pay the full $73.5 million they agreed to pay. Never mind that every single source I’ve asked involved with negotiations has said unequivocally that the Maloofs agreed conceptually to the deal.
However you slice it, these are not the actions of an ownership group that wants to stay in Sacramento, and whether their motives are to get a concession now or down the road, or to jam up the deal so they can force a move down south – it’s time for the NBA to step up and mirror Sacramento’s efforts to clean up its own house.
The good news for Kings fans is that we’re already seeing indications of that happening. When news of the Maloofs backing out of their commitments hit last week, Stern immediately moved in to front $200,000 on the family’s behalf for pre-development costs. That was designed to keep the project moving until the BOG meetings when the matter will be discussed. And if Stern thought at all that the city should be held liable for those funds, he would have never showed a valued owner up over such a nominal dollar amount. Especially for guys who are viewed as having no money, paying $200,000 on their behalf just screams Natty Light (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
The other good news is that nobody in the city’s camp appears to be overly worried about the Maloofs’ most recent power play. The city council voted 7-2 to continue forward with the project, with the understanding that no city funds would be used until the matter is resolved at the BOG meetings. K.J. went on the offensive on Tuesday, calling the Maloofs’ recent actions “disingenuous,” adding:
We’re not going to be a city that sits on its hands. And we’ve gotten this far because we stood up and we’ve taken a stand on what we believe in. So do we need to look at contingency plans? Absolutely. What those are at this point, I’m not ready to share. But as I said, we don’t want to get caught flat footed. We need to make sure we’re protecting our community in all ways and we need to look at all of our options.
You can’t make public statements that say one thing and then privately be doing another. I don’t think that’s in the spirit of what we all thought and where we thought we’d be at this point.
He said much more than that, too, and none of what he said were the words of a man intimidated by the most recent developments. They were the words of a man that knows he has Keyser Soze in his back pocket. And whether Ron Burkle exists or not, the mere mention of his name and the fact that Johnson has an arena deal all-but done has stripped the Maloofs of nearly all the leverage that they once had.
They cannot complain that Sacramento hasn’t done their part, as the city has delivered on all of the promises it made to David Stern last year. According to Johnson, Stern admitted as much in a conversation they had:
In terms of that deadline, I was very clear. I talked to (the) commissioner a couple times this week and I told him that the New York meetings are critical for Sacramento. Because we can’t be in limbo – we can’t keep having the finish line moved on us. We all expected that we had an agreement, we thought we’d all be pushing in the same direction and there’s been countless tactics and antics that are just not becoming (of a) true partnership in my opinion. With that said, the commissioner said to me and insured me that the NBA governing board, the commissioner of the NBA, the relocation committee, the advisory financial committee – they all know what the facts are.
So it sounds like a couple days of reckoning are in the cards. I’ve got Aces Burkle over King Georges.
Mar 14, 2014, 9:31 PM EDT
Pau Gasol believes that Kobe had every right to demand the Lakers put together a team capable of winning immediately.
Mar 14, 2014, 8:03 PM EDT
Paul Pierce continues to play up his hatred of the Knicks.
Jermaine O’Neal explains his reasoning for confronting Blake Griffin outside locker room following loss to Clippers
Mar 14, 2014, 6:36 PM EDT
Blake Griffin apparently did something on the court that, at least in Jermaine O’Neal’s eyes, crossed the line.
Mar 14, 2014, 5:35 PM EDT
After a disaster of a season in New York, Knicks owner James Dolan has made his bold move to save face. Now we will see if it actually turns the franchise around. The Knicks have announced they will “hold a press conference on Tuesday, March 18 to make a major announcement.” That would be the…
Mar 14, 2014, 4:59 PM EDT
For the big Thursday night game where the Bulls showed up ready to play and the Rockets just showed up, TNT mic’d up Carlos Boozer for the game. And he talked. And talked. And yelled “and one” at the top of his lungs. And talked. Tomike Shengelia doesn’t want to listen and Boozer keeps talking.…
Mar 14, 2014, 3:55 PM EDT
By the time Phil Jackson signs with the Knicks it feels like Ted Mosby will have met the mother of his children. Finally. Pretty much every source in the universe says a deal is close, that includes Ramona Shelburne and Chris Broussard of ESPN. Todd Musburger, Jackson’s Chicago-based agent, is in Los Angeles to finalize…
Mar 14, 2014, 2:58 PM EDT
Mike Woodson knows what is coming. It is expected that some time in the next 72 hours Phil Jackson will put pen to paper and become the president of basketball operations for the Knicks. When the season ends he’s going to clean house (CAA is not going to enjoy the experience), bringing in his people…
Mar 14, 2014, 2:08 PM EDT
Jimmy Fallon has been looking into buying a truck, this is the one he needs. Tim Duncan teamed up with Gunn Chevrolet in the San Antonio area to customize a 2014 Silverado for a giveaway. If you didn’t know, Duncan is a bit of a car nut and owns Blackjack Speed Shop, a customizing shop…
Mar 14, 2014, 1:22 PM EDT
Phoenix has to turn things around. Fast. The team is 3-7 in their last 10 and in the deep Western Conference that spells trouble — they have tumbled out of the playoffs and now are two games back of Memphis and Dallas in trying to get the last ticket to the postseason dance. Jeff Hornacek…
Mar 14, 2014, 12:44 PM EDT
The Boston Celtics and Rajon Rondo have had better days behind them. In front of them too, they hope. Boston will miss the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons, and Rondo missed the All-Star Game for the first time in four years. To avoid repeating either outcome, Rondo must get fully healthy. That’s…
Mar 14, 2014, 12:12 PM EDT
This is what makes Inside the NBA on TNT great. You can be sure some star almost fell asleep on the set of a Sunday morning football show this year, but they got him some coffee and kept it off the air. Not Inside the NBA. They show Charles Barkley nodding off and the guys…
Mar 14, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
Terrence Ross has won a Dunk Contest. He scored 51 points in a game. He starts for the Eastern Conference’s third-best team. But he still has to take out the trash when he goes to his mom’s house. Raptors.com interviewed Ross with his mom, Marcine Ross, when Toronto played in his hometown of Portland last…
Mar 14, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT
Michael Jordan is commonly accepted as the best NBA player of all time, though occasionally someone else believes a different player belongs No. 1. Consider Kevin Durant among those dissenters. At least partially Durant on Kobe Bryant, via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (hat tip: Matt Moore of Eye on Basketball): “He’s…
Mar 14, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
In ESPN’s Fab Five documentary, Jalen Rose discussed how he felt about Duke while playing at Michigan. Rose: I hated Duke, and I hated everything I felt Duke stood for. Schools like Duke didn’t recruit players like me. I felt like they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms. To many, that’s still the…
Mar 14, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT
Royce White, the former first-round pick whose anxiety issues have kept him from playing in the NBA, is one step closer to making his NBA debut. The Sacramento Kings signed White to a 10-day contract, immediately assigning him to the D-League. After posting 8.8 points on 37 percent shooting, 4.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5…
Mar 14, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
President Obama has ramped up his efforts to promote the Affordable Care Act, even appearing on “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifianakis. With only mild offense intended for Galifianakis (in the spirit of his episode with the president), Obama has enlisted a much bigger celebrity to help with the cause – LeBron James. In the…
Mar 14, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
At a panel during the Sloan Conference, Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers described the arduous process of acquiring Andre Iguodala. The Warriors had no cap room last summer, so Myers faced a two-sided task to land the free agent. Not only did he negotiate with Iguodala, Myers discussed trades with other teams to…
Mar 14, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT
This was expected when Atlanta Hawks big man Al Horford tore his pectoral muscle, he had to have surgery and was done for the season. But with the Hawks playing better than expected for rookie coach Mike Budenholzer — thanks to an All-Star year from Paul Millsap — Atlanta is going to be a playoff…
Mar 14, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
I’m a big fan of the NFL/HBO series “Hard Knocks,” which each year follows a team through training camp and the drama of season-ending injuries and the cut downs — guys are playing for their livelihood and there is inherent drama in that. It’s great television. But thanks to guaranteed contracts you can’t do the…
Mar 14, 2014, 3:16 AM EDT
Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while applying for maybe the best journalism job out there…. Mike Dunleavy, Chicago Bulls. Don’t make Mike Dunleavy angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. Dunleavy had no points in the first half before Chandler Parsons caught Dunleavy just above the eye with an…
- Pau Gasol says Kobe was right to rip Lakers front office 3
- It’s confirmed: Phil Jackson returns to Knicks to head up front office, revive franchise 22
- Kevin Durant: Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan are greatest of all time 60
- LeBron James becomes Obamacare pitchman 38
- Report: Houston Rockets to pursue Carmelo Anthony this summer 30