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With Sacramento arena deal all but dead, Stern says league has done all it can

Apr 13, 2012, 4:15 PM EDT

David Stern AP

David Stern’s press conference Friday afternoon sounded a whole lot like a eulogy for the Kings in Sacramento.

Stern said Friday afternoon following the two-day NBA Board of Governor’s meeting that a handshake deal reached All-Star Weekend to get a new arena built in Sacramento was basically dead. While he would not use that exact word Stern sounded like a guy resigned to seeing a team move. Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson and the Maloof family that owns the Kings are reportedly meeting Friday but that is a Hail Mary at this point – George Maloof said there is no deal and Johnson said the city was done negotiating.

“We had an agreement in principle, a framework, a deal. Call whatever you want,” Stern said at the press conference broadcast on NBATV. “In my view, it was subject to any party who said didn’t want to do it. It was always non-binding… I think it’s fair for Maloofs to say ‘I don’t want to do it.’

“If they did it a little earlier, a little simpler and a little more directly, it could have saved some angst.”

Stern’s body language and tone suggested he felt bad for Mayor Johnson and the fans of Sacramento, who had stepped up. Stern said several times that the city had done all that could be asked of it.

“I am extremely disappointed, on behalf of Maloofs and city of Sacramento, but I think that there’s nothing further to be done,” Stern said. “This is a situation that the Maloofs will make judgments on and city will have to make judgments on. I think we’ve done as much as we can do.”

While the team has not yet filed for relocation — to Anaheim most likely, although there are other options — it would be surprising if that does not come soon. The Maloof family has said they wanted to stay in Sacramento but their actions said otherwise.

Stern said the league is scheduling the Kings games next season into the Power Balance Arena in Sacramento, but he could not speak to anything beyond that. But the way co-owner George Maloof burned bridges in Sacramento with his Friday press conference in New York it’s just hard to see them staying.

And, as owners, that is their right.

The NBA treats its owners like feudal Lords who can pretty much do what they want in their fiefdoms. David Stern works for and at the pleasure of the other owners. While he took a couple shots at the Maloofs press conference, Stern said repeatedly the Maloofs were within their rights to make the moves they did. As owners paying into an arena project, they had the right to raise concerns and back out.

The other owners, who might want to use that same “we might leave town” leverage down the line on their cities, are not about to tie the hands of the Maloofs.

And so a good NBA fan base in Sacramento is about to lose its team.

  1. trbowman - Apr 13, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    The Madouche brothers are screwing Sactown over, too bad for that fanbase.

  2. baron30 - Apr 13, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    The Maloofs are loser…these are the same guys that got on the mic the first game back from the all star break and gave a rah rah speech about how they “did it” and how excited to stay….these guys are money hungry clowns

  3. baron30 - Apr 13, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    The Maloofs are losers…these are the same guys that got on the mic the first game back from the all star break and gave a rah rah speech about how they “did it” and how excited to stay….these guys are money hungry clowns

  4. slippyal2 - Apr 13, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    It’s disgusting that the owners could this to franchises like Sacramento and Seattle. If the NBA didn’t have such a problem finding owners, they would of dumped the Maloof’s asses.

  5. deadeyedesign23 - Apr 13, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    I’ve been pretty critical of Stern following the lockout, but I love that he had the stones to, as plainly as he could, call the Maloofs out for just wanting to leave. They wanted out, which is their right, but they didn’t want to be the bad guys. So Sacramento called their bluff, gave them what they wanted and they had to how their hole card. Leaving Sacramento is the Maloofs having their cake. Blaming leaving on Sacramento was them eating their cake.

  6. sikeologist - Apr 13, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Only the Maloofs can stand in the middle of the court and lie to the thousands of fans standing behind them. Sacramento Kings fan no more…although it was not the team fault at all.

  7. AlohaMrHand - Apr 13, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    I hope the Anaheim Royals finish last every year.I feel bad for both the fans in Sacramento and the fans in Anaheim as well because they are getting sheisters for owners.You thought Donald Sterlig was bad?

  8. bozosforall - Apr 13, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Stern is a classic fencesitter. Figures.

    • Kurt Helin - Apr 14, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      Stern works for the owners. At the end of the day his job (and all commissioners) is to make their bosses happy.

      • limonadamas - Apr 15, 2012 at 2:02 AM

        umm… Bud Selig and Frank McCourt? It can be done. It’s not in the best interest of the league to keep relocating teams after holding fanbases hostage..

        If owners are financially insolvent, the league should intervene. Selig was lauded for this. Stern would be too… but he has an inexplicable soft spot for the Maloofs (per BIll Simmons). He can do other things for “basketball reasons” but he won’t do this because of personal reasons.

      • bozosforall - Apr 16, 2012 at 11:16 AM

        That is true. But he is sitting on the fence here.

  9. jonirocit - Apr 13, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    Boycott the kings games .. These losers might not want to show up any where near northern California

  10. mogogo1 - Apr 13, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    The bigger problem long-term for the NBA is the Maloofs aren’t magically going to become good owners by moving the team. They’re basically bankrupt right now–their casino and other holdings that allowed them to become NBA owners in the first place are gone. They’re not going to have the cash to put a top-notch team on the floor and within a couple years, after the honeymoon with the new city is over, fans are going to start staying home.

    If Stern and the rest of the owners had a clue and/or spine, they’d work on forcing the Maloofs to sell. Instead, they’re going to stupidly put the problems off to some other day, the same way they let Shinn bail on Charlotte. Maybe they’ll stick another expansion team in Sacramento as a consolation prize, like they did with the Bobcats in Charlotte. That’s worked out so well… Just a really poorly run league.

  11. SmackSaw - Apr 13, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    Cool! Now I’ll only have to drive 20 minutes to see an NBA game. I won’t have to fight through traffic and pray that I can find parking.The Honda Center has acres of parking right off the freeway. Not to mention walking through downtown L.A. Plus, the Lakers aren’t playing well and Sterling had a deal to move the Clippers to Anaheim and reneged. I hate the Clippers.

    Winning!

  12. rayburns - Apr 13, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    This may be the end of the Stern ‘dynasty’ in the NBA.

    The most powerful commissioner in sports now has to stand with his hands in his pockets like a chastised little boy while the Maloofs make a mockery of everything that Stern supposedly wants in the NBA.

  13. mcjon22 - Apr 13, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    Just move them to Seattle, and send New Orleans to Sac-town. It’ll be like 2003 again

  14. snoqualmieterry - Apr 13, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    We want a team in Seattle. We had our team stolen, give one back to us.

  15. asublimeday - Apr 14, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    There is no greater group of scumbags in sports than the maloof clan.

  16. asublimeday - Apr 14, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    Sports ownership, I mean. The heat are still far and away the biggest scumbags in sports.

  17. chazzmon - Apr 14, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    I think the Seattle contingent will be hovering like vultures over this story.

  18. chazzmon - Apr 14, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Why are the Heat scumbags?

  19. southpaw77 - Apr 14, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    The Maloofs have no interest in staying in Sac-Town, they wanna be 3rd rate tenants in Anaheim. Meanwhile markets like Seattle have no team because you have to build a new arena every 20 years or Stern takes your team away. Sickening.

    Memphis and New Orleans cant draw flies but Seattle, KC, Louisville or Sac-Town will have no team.

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