Marcos Breton Got it Right: Blame it on the Maloofs


Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Marcos Breton got it right: Put the blame where it belongs, squarely on the shoulders of the Maloofs. The Maloofs were caught once again with their pants down, in the midst of working out a deal with Seattle, on the sly, without informing Sacramento of their intention to once again sneak out of town. Had it not been for Daina Falk, daughter of NBA agent David Falk to spill the beans in a tweet, this might have gone without detection until the deal to sell the team to Seattle was formally done, with only the approval of the NBA Board of Governors.

But the jig isn’t up.

Not yet, anyway.

The plan may have been to keep the whole thing a secret to spring it on March 1, in time to file for relocation, catching everyone off-guard; not giving Sacramento any time to respond, while leaving Mayor Kevin Johnson flat-footed, and embarrassed, yet again. Their plan may have been to completely and irrevocably burn the bridges on their way out of Sacramento. We may never know.

Just like when they tried to broker a deal with Anaheim, all the while telling Sacramento how much they wanted to stay.

I have to wonder about the good folks of Virginia Beach, whose only fault was their dream of an NBA team to come to their community. I wonder what they must be thinking today. Are they looking at each other and asking, “What just happened?”

Business is business, but this feels like a failed to let you (Sacramento) know what we were doing because we don’t like you job. If it were strictly doing business, I would think the Maloof family would want to advertise their intention to sell far and wide, unless they already had their buyer in their hands.

If you have a multi-million dollar mansion you want to unload and want to come out with a big hefty profit, you don’t just deal with the first person who comes knocking at your door. Or do you? You would find yourself a specialized agent who would market your property to a wide market of potential buyers with deep pockets. Can’t imagine they would overlook buyers who would keep the team in Sacramento.

Money talks to Maloofs. But, I have to wonder if they allow their own personal feelings to override their rational thinking. If they not only want to make money, but also drop bombs on unsuspecting folks. I have to wonder if the Maloofs want to deliberately hurt Sacramento and the good folks who have supported the team for so long.

I have to wonder, because throughout this entire ordeal, they have failed talk more candidly to the Mayor behind closed doors and say, “We have the best intentions to Sacramento, but the downturn in the economy is forcing us to look to other cities.” Isn’t that the politically correct thing to do? At the very least, give notice to your city. They wouldn’t have to resort to George sneaking around, hoping no one in Sacramento would find out the family is looking to make a deal elsewhere.

If I have to be blatantly honest, this feels like there is an element of getting back at Sacramento; getting back at the Mayor and fans who helped to quash their attempt to relocate to Anaheim last year; getting back at the community who have disparaged them in sports blogs, poking fun at them, and turning them into a joke. I could be wrong, but that is how it feels to me.

There is no way Maloofs could have fielded wide-spread interest to potential buyers of the team and still kept it quiet from Mayor Kevin Johnson. No way. Someone would have tipped off the Mayor. Yesterday, Kevin Johnson clearly told the press this was the first he was made aware of the Maloofs’ intention to sell.

You would think since the Maloofs finally reached a point of deciding to sell their beloved team, they would want to open up the bidding to as many people as possible.

I tend to dismiss the idea Maloofs, as majority owners have an absolute obligation to openly advertise the sale of the team to people who would keep the team here in Sacramento. Although, NBA Commissioner David Stern may feel differently, considering no team is an island, given the revenue sharing the owners currently enjoy. The fortunes of one franchise do affect another. High revenue teams help to support low revenue small-market franchises. Both Sacramento and Seattle are both good NBA markets, although Seattle would get the nod. Seattle is far more likely to take the team off of revenue sharing life support, especially given the current situation in Sacramento.

You would think they would have been on the phone to the Mayor to tell him they have finally decided to sell. You would think they would want him to immediately contact his potential buyers, which he has in his back pocket. But wait – they didn’t do that because the Mayor revealed yesterday at his presser, this was the first he learned the Maloofs were interested in selling.

But that can’t be, can it? The Maloofs would never do such a thing to the fine City of Sacramento and it loyal fan base. Would they?

Could this all be part of their plan? To work in secrecy to “surprise” Sacramento, leaving the Mayor perplexed and the community flummoxed. It all begs the question of how long have the Maloofs been in negotiation with Seattle?

The whole situation brings up more questions than answers. When the talks broke down for an arena deal in April 2012, Seattle was in the picture. Did Seattle worm its way into Sacramento’s deal for a new arena? Did Chris Hansen attempt to interfere with Sacramento’s arena deal? Is this why the Maloofs backed out of the deal? If so, was NBA Commissioner David Stern aware of any attempt on Seattle’s part to jeopardize the deal?

This story is not over. Sacramento and Mayor Kevin Johnson may have been caught off-guard, but there is still a distance to go before all is said and done. There are people who know more than they are saying. One thing we do know for certain – this is all the fault of the Maloofs.