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George Maloof’s Virginia Beach arena ploy falls apart, Seattle rumors heat up

Jan 9, 2013, 9:10 AM EDT

Phil, George, Gavin Maloof AP

We never took the Maloofs or Virginia Beach seriously in their talks to move the Sacramento Kings to the eastern seaboard, and predictably the talks officially fell apart when Virginia Beach mayor Will Sessoms declared the deal dead for now on Tuesday.

There were a million reasons that deal was a farce – a sad ploy to manufacture leverage in George Maloof and his family’s ongoing attempt at getting something for nothing in an arena deal.

Still though, this marks the end for yet another painful chapter for Kings fans, who have endured as much uncertainty and shenanigans as any fan base on this side of Seattle.  And as we learned late Tuesday night, the next chapter has already begun.

Super agent David Falk’s daughter Daina tweeted yesterday that Seattle billionaire Chris Hansen has already come to an agreement with the Maloofs to buy the Kings, calling it a “done deal.”  Since those rumors hit the Twittersphere, she backed off a bit on her Facebook page and deleted her tweets at about 9 a.m. ET today (original here).  Seattle writer Chris Daniels wasn’t in a hurry to address the “rumors” last night, adding that “it isn’t over until it’s over” and that’s a point of agreement here.

First off, the idea that a deal is closed is premature since the Board of Governors would have to approve it and that clearly hasn’t happened, let alone with a relocation request attached.  Of course, a deal could be being negotiated in the background between the Maloofs and Hansen with or without the NBA’s participation, and she may be referring to some step in that process, but until she comments further or the next shoe drops this is mere speculation from a potential, albeit unlikely information source.

Either way, we’ll learn a lot in the next 24 hours as the various parties each respond to requests for comment at the start of business today.

As for the Maloofs, Tuesday’s Virginia Beach developments put them back at square one and they are running out of time and money to make their final move. They will either need to come up with a lot more money than they have right now to run a basketball team in the Sacramento market – a market that they torch regularly with their antics – or sell the team and that brings us back to where we were in early September.

For Seattle to ironically take the Kings from Sacramento, Chris Hansen will need to drastically overpay to purchase and move the franchise, and if the notoriously deliberate businessman wants to do that then the NBA will still need to get behind the deal.

Given the fact that Sacramento has come up with a “model offer of public funds” according to one league source, a decision to allow the team to move will not be made lightly, as it will necessarily hurt the league in its negotiations with other cities for future arena subsidies.

In this case, the city of Sacramento has done everything the league could ask for and then some to help build an arena.  The implication is that the league is asking cities for long-term investments of public dollars, but not providing a reasonable expectation of a long-term partnership so long as that city continues to provide reasonable partnership dollars into the future.

The part that is most threatening for the league in this scenario is how publicly embarrassing the Maloof family has become to the NBA, creating a real-life equivalent to the movie Major League, and in this day and age of information those images are exponentially more accessible to the public than they have been in previous arena quagmires.

With the league and its players receiving $3 billion dollars in arena subsidy money since 1990, any shift in public sentiment or political resistance on the issue could cost the league an unfathomable amount.

If Hansen won’t pay drastically more than Sacramento, then the Maloofs will likely need to sell to one of a handful of serious buyers out of California’s capitol city that are ready to buy the team right now.

It’s theoretically possible that another city could come into play, but given the fact that Sacramento is a one-sport town with the No. 20 TV market – chances are moving the franchise won’t make sense for the league or a new owner.

George and his siblings can’t simply do nothing, as the sky is falling at Sleep Train Arena and it’s anybody’s guess when it won’t be suitable for NBA games.  This situation will come to a head and the only question is when the family gives up.

And until the NBA effectively finds a way to nudge George Maloof and his siblings out of their clubhouse, they will continue to panhandle for arena money at the expense of the logo.

We’ll get an update to you guys as soon as we learn whether or not this Seattle rumor has any legs.

  1. beastmode5150 - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    It has legs.

  2. fanofevilempire - Jan 9, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    I can’t say I blame any city that refuses to fund unconditionally a arena for any franchise
    so that filthy rich owners can have nice toys. Why can’t Stern step in and buy the Kings.

  3. pricejustin24 - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Sacramento doesn’t deserve a team.

    • phaden27 - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:52 AM

      Let me fix that for you.

      Sacramento doesn’t deserve what the Maloof’s have done to their team.

    • mogogo1 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      No city deserves the Maloof brothers as owners.

    • mogogo1 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:55 PM

      No city deserves the Maloofs as owners. They’ll never have enough money again to put a good team on the floor even if they did fleece the taxpayers someplace to give them a new arena and pay for their relocating the team.

  4. vcupats - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    Even Virginia Beach residents knew this was a ploy.

  5. jcmeyer10 - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    Having visited Seattle recently, I can tell you, they want their Super Sonics back.

  6. aboogy123456 - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    worst owners in the NBA.

  7. fm31970 - Jan 9, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    I get the feeling the Kings will stay in Sacto, similar to what just happened with the Grizzlies. That leaves Seattle needing/wanting a team to go with its soon-to-be-built arena…all the stars are aligning for the Bucks to be sold and moved. Aging owner ready to sell, outdated (oldest in NBA) arena which the team makes zero money off of, and not the greatest population size/TV market.

  8. liddogg33 - Jan 9, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    well as a die hard Seattle fan id like to apologize to all the king faithful. i for one know how bad it stings when idiot owners lose years and years of legacy over stupidity.. i want a team as bad as humanly possible i just wish another fan base didnt have to go through what we did!! that being said i will definitely be there opening night to root on whatever team our savior chris hansen can bring us!!! sorry sac town.. trust me when i tell u i know how bad this stings

    • joenash72 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:09 PM

      Ditto on liddog’s remarks, I’m another Seattle fan who knows how losing your team stings. Even worse for Sacramento cuz it only major franchise, at least on Seattle we’ve got MLB & NFL. As much as I am happy to get a team again, wish that arena deal Kevin Johnson had put together had been scuttled by those maloof idiots, they are worse than Howard Shultz……

      • joenash72 - Jan 9, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        Hadn’t been scuttled^^^^^^^

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