Yesterday morning, Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof found a comfy chair at Power Balance Pavilion and for eight hours straight, made phone calls to Sacramento Kings season ticket holders. Gavin expressed his apologies to the King fans and essentially was as much of an open book as he could be in answering their tough questions. A simple gesture on his part, and while it certainly wont excuse the situation that has become because of their families actions, there’s no doubt it’s a small step in the correct direction.
Gavin’s brother and the second face to the Kings franchise, Joe, who’s been extremely quiet through this entire debacle did grant one interview to the Bee’s Ailene Voisin this past weekend in which he was adamant about the Kings staying in Sacramento, essentially promising that they would not file for relocation despite the growing speculation:
"So what’s different a year later? A lot of people still suspect your plan is to spend next season in Sacramento and then file for relocation in March.That’s not true, that’s not true. I swear that is not going to happen. I don’t care what rumors are out there. It’s our team. We’re not selling, and we’re not leaving. Our identity is the Sacramento Kings. That’s how we’re known."
I don’t know about you – but “I swear that is not going to happen” is a pretty strong statement. It’s in print – they’re not leaving and he swears there will be no relocation. Fantastic – except for this one thing courtesy of George Maloof in Ken Berger’s piece from yesterday afternoon:
"Responding to Johnson’s accusation that the Maloofs backed away from the deal because they want to move the team, George Maloof said, “Our intention is to stay in Sacramento.” But when pressed for a commitment that the family would not file a relocation petition with the NBA, he said, “Ask me in a year.”"
Well, that’s weird. You have the two faces of the franchise in Joe and Gavin making promises and commitments to the city and fans of Sacramento – Joe going as far as to “swear” it will not happen, but here comes George, two days later saying “ask me in a year” in regards to relocation rumors? Come again?
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard conflicting interests from the Maloof family – hell, just last year there were rumors that both Joe and Gavin along with Mother Maloof wanted to keep the Kings in Sacramento, but pressures from outside entities along with George and sister Adrienne Maloof (who’ve both long fancied Anaheim) closed in on them. We’d heard of family disputes before that – even times when Joe and Gavin weren’t exactly on the same page, so the conflicting view points are nothing new. In fact, it’s the old case of too many hands in the cookie jar. There’s no set decision maker with the Maloof family, it’s a “community” decision for a lack of better terms and in business, that just doesn’t work. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with taking suggestions but there needs to be a final word, be it from just one Maloof or a mutual decision from Joe and Gavin.
But now, the normally lesser opinionated Maloofs in Joe and Gavin are having their strings pulled by puppeteer George. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not giving Joe and Gavin a pass – they’re allowing the master puppeteer to work his magic, but its becoming more and more clear that there’s a semi-rogue member or two in the Maloof family trying to get their way. Right now, Joe and Gavin are doing their best to clean up that said mess and I’d have to say, getting pretty tired of doing so.
Could it that Joe and Gavin are simply trying to swindle the good folks of Sacramento – trying to squeeze every penny out of the economically crunched community before they back the trucks up to the PBP loading docks, ala Art Modell? Sure – anything is possible, but that’s extremely unlikely. Rather, a more level headed suggestion would be that Joe and Gavin would prefer to stay in Sacramento while others, who think they know all, with much less investment in the community and franchise, would like a first class ticket out of town – eyes full of dollar signs.
Again – I’m not trying to save face for Joe and Gavin – nor am I giving them a pass in this as they undoubtedly share significant blame in this fiasco, but it’s becoming more and more clear that there are some strong differing opinions between the Maloof clan, namely those of George Maloof’s views compared to that of Joe and Gavin.
The drama from the Maloof family is nothing new, I just hope this real-life drama has a happy ending for the community of Sacramento.