It may have got lost in the shuffle of the pandemonium yesterday, but an LA Times piece from Lance Pugmire suggested, from an unnamed source, that the Maloofs have re-shifted their focus back to Anaheim in efforts to relocate the franchise:
"A basketball official close to the situation but unauthorized to speak publicly said afterward the Kings’ owners’ “focus is still on Anaheim,” and a future relocation to the Honda Center perhaps as soon as the 2013-14 season."
This all of course after George Maloof adamantly curb stomped his backhanded love of Sacramento and the Kings dedication to the city. But this brings me to another point – are the Maloofs simply using Anaheim in efforts to get a better deal from Sacramento?
Let’s face it – the Maloofs are a greedy bunch who want their cake and the ability to eat it too. More than that, they’re untrustful – both good and bad for the city of Sacramento. We’ve already seen the bad in the past twenty-four hours, but don’t think that untrusting trait stops at the Grapevine – you can bet your bottom dollar it stretches far into the reaches of Orange County as well.
You can run through a listing of cities who’ve been used by the Maloofs – from Kansas City to Louisville to Anaheim to, hell, Sacramento. In all of their stops they’ve looked for one thing – the perfect deal – and they’ve used every situation to further enhance that said deal. Do I think the Kings had real ideas of moving to Anaheim in the past? Partly. Do I think they used Anaheim in the past to make Sacramento get on the ball and to expedite what was the current arena situation? Completely. Did it work? Yes, actually – it did.
The previous deal to Anaheim was downright financially disgusting for the Maloofs. Sure, it sounded nice upfront with the $50-100 million dollar advance from Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli and sure, that Fox Sports West opening from the departed Lakers looked sweet on the surface, but when the finances were made public two things were clear: a) the Maloofs were broke and b) Henry Samueli was setting himself up to be owner of the said Anaheim franchise in a few years.
The Maloofs were given lofty goals from Samueli – almost a mob style type deal. Meet these un-meetable requirements in terms of loan repayment and all will be fine. Don’t and you’ll essentially give a hefty control of your franchise to me. Sounds pleasant, does it not? Oh – and that Fox Sports TV deal that was all the rage? Let’s be honest – the said Anaheim team would be third rate on that network at best, behind the Dodgers (questions remain about their network future) and Clippers – that’s not even taking into account Samueli’s Ducks or the Angels who play on a subsidiary (like the Clippers of Fox Sports Prime). This might not be the best example (although its the most recent) – the San Diego Padres just secured a TV deal with Fox Sports San Diego which will pay the franchise around $25-30 million dollars a year currently. The financials go up yearly with inflation, but the Padres were also given a 21% ownership in the station – something the Maloofs wouldn’t be given in any type of Anaheim deal. Now, I’m not suggesting the Maloofs would only bank $25-30 million a year in a TV deal – given the lack of ownership in the station they’d certainly get more, but we’re not talking some absurd numbers here. Comcast could certainly meet similar financial demands in the Sacramento area. Money to be made in TV deals is all in ownership – the Maloofs simply aren’t getting that.
All in all, as its been from the start of the Kings to Anaheim rumors – unless the Maloofs plan to eventually sell to Samueli (or are forced legally – which isn’t out of the question), the move to Orange County is extremely suspect for the Maloof family, which makes me wonder if they’re yet again using another pawn to get their ways.
It’s the old “I hope my girlfriend sees me with this girl so she’ll get jealous” trick.
The Maloofs want more out of the Sacramento deal. They want the perfect deal. Stupid as the Maloofs are, you don’t go to mid-court, announce an arena deal and be talking with Orange County officials on your way back to your courtside seat.
The city of Sacramento and you as fans have given the NBA’s relocation committee every reason to tell the Maloofs no in terms of a move. Financially, the Kings can compete in Sacramento – and that’s what the relocation committee will be watching for. The said deal in Anaheim isn’t nearly as posh as some want to make it out to be for the Maloofs – in fact, its essentially franchise suicide for the Maloofs, who would almost all but lose their controlling interest in the team within a few seasons barring a miracle.
Right now, the Maloofs are looking out for the Maloofs and only the Maloofs. This is their last opportunity to get it right for themselves. Once the papers are signed, you can’t go back. This is a “well, we do have this option over here………..unless you want to fix up a few things in the negotiations” situation.
Unfortunately, for all parties involved, the Maloofs have proven themselves to be poor businessmen and terrible gamblers. Hope they blew on those dice one last time before they tossed out that final roll…