In the span of two days, the city of Sacramento went from potentially losing the Kings to not only keeping the Kings but getting a new exciting ownership group as well.
And, in a sick and twisted way, we have the Maloofs to thank mightily for the outcome.
First and foremost, Sacramento owes this victory to Major Kevin Johnson for his tireless efforts. They owe it to the whales and the new ownership group, to the NBA for doing the right thing, and to the countless grassroots groups—Here We Stay, Crown Downtown and Carmichael Dave. Of course, we fans owe it to ourselves—anyone who got involved at any level.
But we also must thank the Maloofs, because while very awkward to consider, after all they put the city and the fans through, their actions (quite unintentional, for sure) in the past three years made the prize all the better for loyal Kings fans.
Don’t get these words twisted—the Maloofs leave as one of the worst ownership groups in sports history. They bumbled and tried to manipulate the city and the league to let them out of town—when that didn’t happen, they tried to ship the team out as their last act of ownership. Through the efforts of KJ, the new ownership group and thousands of others, they couldn’t.
But in the end, every bumbling step made it all the better. When they tried to move the team out of Sacramento
to Anaheim in 2011, it awakened the power of KJ, who proved once and for all to the NBA that Sacramento was a viable, strong market. The city, the Maloofs and the NBA reached a “non-binding” agreement on an arena in the railyards and it seemed an excellent ending for the torrid affair.
Instead, the Maloofs made it even better in the long run by making it much, much worse in the short run. They tanked the railyard arena over petty reasons and made it clear they never wanted to stay in Sacramento. In January, they played what looked like their final trump card—they agreed to sell to Chris Hansen, who’d take the team away for good.
Of course, the Maloofs final move backfired—and not only will Sacramento get their beautiful arena (at the current site of the downtown mall, an even better place than the original idea) they’ll get a new ownership group as well. By destroying the original arena agreement and proving they wanted to sell, the Maloofs ended giving Kings fans and the city a better future than we’d ever hoped any step of the way.
And in the end, the Maloofs did the right thing. They’d have sold eventually—this was over when the NBA chose Sacramento over Seattle. But the Maloofs could’ve pressed this to court, could’ve rallied Hansen in with them, and drawn this out into a long legal battle. They would have lost, but it would have continued to drag out.
Instead, in the span of about 30 hours, Sacramento not only got to keep their team, but the Maloofs agreed to get out of the picture forever.
Through all their incompetence and deception, the Maloofs forced KJ to create the best arena plan possible and construct the best ownership group possible to keep the team. Because of them, the future is so bright.
The past three years have been miserable for Kings fans. But would we really have gone any other route that lead to any other outcome?
That is the final redemption of the Maloofs.