Was This the Kings-Warriors Finale in Sacramento? It’s Very Possible, But the Deal is Not Done

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – For those who enjoy the league-wide musings on this still-in-its-infancy site, you’ll just have to be patient when it comes to the frequent Kings updates.

The reality that I’m a former Kings beat writer who is still based in this part of the country coupled with the fact that the team’s new deadline to file for relocation is on April 18 means it’s a story I’m naturally drawn to and will see through until the end. And as I wrote for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area on Monday night, the reality is that a Kings move to Anaheim still looks likely.

That possibility came with a subplot in the latest game, as a move before next season would make it the Sacramento finale between these two regional rivals (the Warriors host the Kings on April 10 in their final faceoff). It’s that kind of mood out at Power Balance Pavilion/formerly Arco Arena these days, where the nostalgia has certainly taken over among the fans who are well aware there are only seven home games left.

One post-publication note regarding the CSN piece: I’m still opting for words like ‘likely’ and ‘may’ in regards to relocation for a reason. There are very subtle signs that the Maloofs might not sign the dotted line before the deadline, and it remains unclear exactly what would lead to that unexpected development.

As always, I’ll share most of – if not all – of what I know, and would strongly caution against any false hope among the most faithful fans. But as you’ve already heard elsewhere and I can confirm, the deal is not done.

Comcast SportsNet Bay Area: Reality Sets in at Building Formerly Known as Arco

E-mail Sam at amick.sam@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @sam_amick and Facebook.

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13 responses to “Was This the Kings-Warriors Finale in Sacramento? It’s Very Possible, But the Deal is Not Done

  1. Laurie Edwards

    First off, I admit I know nothing about this situation, so my opinion here is fairly worthless.
    That said, I have to ask: Why would the Maloofs (Malooves?) move their team from Sacramento, where they are the star attraction, to Anaheim, where they’d be the third-most interesting NBA team in the LA area? Let’s face it: People around there are Laker fans. Secondarily, there are Clips fans. (At least they get to play home games at Staples Center.) Who on Earth is going to trek to Anaheim to watch one of the worst teams in the League?
    Hmmm….Unless there’s some overriding financial concern here–and as I said, I have no understanding of this situation–this move doesn’t make sense. Why go from being a lousy team with a captive audience to being a lousy team nobody will go see?

  2. LOL. Looks like the minority owners are done with the secrecy – at least one of them is. Ticket partner spoke with one this week and he said it comes down to one thing: relocation fee. If the fee is $30M they go, if it’s $100M they stay – somewhere in between there’s at least a discussion but most likely if it is in that $30-$50M range it’s a done deal.

  3. I was sitting next to a fan last night who said “We are lucky to have the Maloofs as owners. If it was somebody else, they would have left a long time ago.”

  4. Home of the Angels and the Ducks, OC fans make it to games, and the drive in the OC is freeway safe and uncongested, it will be a good move.

  5. The real tragedy of in this situation is the kid gloves we have to treat the owners with! The truth of the matter in the arena debacle is that the Maloofs are MORE to blame than the city council. It’s true that Heather Fargo used the arena to get elected (so did KJ, but only after HF proved incompetent to this task). But it is also true that the Maloof’s have NOT negotiated fairly with anybody when it comes to a new home. An effort in Natomas fell apart when the investors pulled out stating that the Maloofs kept changing their minds on the design (which affected the cost). Then the legendary pull out of the Q&R initiative. Nobody reports why the Maloofs pulled out, they pulled out because they didn’t want public transportation and surrounding restaurants competing with them. They wanted what they had, an isolated arena where they can charge what they wish for parking and food. Not wishing to look bad, the Maloofs called in David Stern to negotiate a deal. All this did was complicate the situation to the point of collapse as the land swap deal was contingent upon the Cal Expo Board to make a deal. No surprise, the board decided to stay put. In the meantime the Maloofs ignored the dwindling attendance by keeping ticket prices too high (the rest of the league was already addressing the same issue) and a series of roster moves which guaranteed a losing product on the floor. Now with the growth of Natomas (restaurants and parking are walking distance from PBP) the Maloofs are considering moving to a better TV market and a richer area. It is maddening to a fan of the city as well as the team. As a fan who could afford the Kings only in the powder blue days, but still joined the 17333 in Arco Thunder through all these years, Sacramento does deserve better treatment.

  6. In response to la biacha, OC residents have not actually been attending Ducks games. They are 26th in the NHL in attendance. The Angels do better, though, ranking 5th in MLB last season.

  7. 1. The Maloofs out-of-town owners.
    2. SoCal is a more compatible/tie-in for Las Vegas casino owners.
    3. The Maloofs are good owners, because they are really committed to the team, organization, and the desire to win. They’ve been good members of the community.
    4. There’s a limit to how much money they want to lose every year.
    5. They are going to bargain with Anaheim entities with the same self-interest and balance-sheet concerns that they bargain with the Sacramento entities.
    6. If you compare the revenue streams from being the second tentant in the Anaheim arena versus the revenue streams from their own arena in Natomas, it’s difficult to see how a move now benefits the Maloofs immediately. Is someone kicking in a lot of incentive money?
    7. What’s it going to cost to cover the $67 million Sacramento loan and the relocation fee? Who has extra money for that?
    8. Are the owners really willing to put three teams in LA after regretting walking away from the Seattle market?
    9. Is it possible that Maloofs debate the move among themselves?
    10. Lots of questions. Wait and see. Be ready to show committment to the Maloofs right away if the Anaheim move is off for now.
    11. There’s a limit to to how much money they want to lose each year.

  8. I heard a report recently that the Maloofs, with everything that went on, still made money (albeit a small amount) from the team in 2010? So I don’t think it’s a financial wasteland for them (although I realize Anaheim COULD be better). I can’t blame them for leaving, if it really will be financially beneficial for them..I’m just not a big fan of how they’re handling it. No one REALLY knows what is going on. It is all speculation, since they’ve become silent on the issue. I’m guessing it’s looking bad for Sac…but no one really knows. I would think that, after months (years?) of negotiations, with the deadline fast approaching, they would have a deal by now. The fact that they don’t gives me SOME hope. Now, if the city council would wake up, and we could get an arena deal worked out SOON, I don’t think the NBA would let them leave. Probably a crazy fantasy…

  9. Here’s the thing I didn’t put on my list. Maybe they’ve wanted to move the franchise to SoCal ever since they bought it and now is their best chance to do it.

  10. The NFL has the highest revenue sharing business plan of the major US sports leagues. And you know what else they have? Parity in the league. How many teams have won the NBA championship since David Stern has been in charge? Seven. Seven teams have won the NBA Finals since David Stern took over in 1984. In the entire history of the Sacramento Kings, only seven teams have lifted the Larry O’Brien trophy. Fifteen teams have won the superbowl in that same timeframe. The wealth rises to the top in the NBA, and it is apparent in who wins and who does not. While it is maddening how little the Maloof’s have been willing to compromise on getting a deal done with the city, I think more attention needs to be focused on the larger issue at hand, which is the NBA business model. I have read a lot of articles focusing on the Maloof’s and relocation, but I have yet to see one that dares to question the NBA’s income stream. It is my belief that the NBA is insolvent, and simply cannot afford to pay the owners/player salaries and necessary overhead associated with owning an NBA franchise without demanding that host cities donate $300-$500 million dollars every ten years or so in the form of a new NBA arena.

    Lets face it, the NBA has a business model where small market teams have no chance. People like to point to San Antonio as the exception, yet San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the country. Cities like Sacramento have no chance at winning a championship with David Stern at the helm, and I doubt that the new collective bargaining agreement will do much to help the situation. The NBA is now at a point where they need extravagant new buildings complete with restaurants, luxury suites, shopping botiques, acres upon acres of parking, and oh yeah, a basketball court in order to generate new streams of income to keep up with the skyrocketing and unsustainable costs associated with having a team. The NBA generates enough money to build these arenas, but they know they don’t have to because some city will come along and subsidize the costs. So instead of keeping overhead low and player salaries reasonable, they inflate their worth and pass the risk on to their hosts cities. And once they bleed the city dry, they point to the arena and claim it is inadequate, and start the process over in a new city. It’s disgusting. And it’s even more sickening when you consider that teams like Sacramento will never reap the benefits and be rewarded with the ultimate prize of an NBA championship. The cards are simply stacked against small market teams.

    Proponents of a new state-of-the-art arena like to point to the income generated and the benefit of local economies. And while it is true that an arena can serve multiple purposes aside from NBA games, we shouldn’t let the NBA off the hook for their corporate greed. The NBA demands a portion of funds from an arena, even for non NBA events, and they also like to claim that an NBA arena is a boost to the local economy. Almost all scholars on the subject claim that the economic benefit of an NBA team is negligible, and in some instances a burden to the host city. And if this were in fact the true intent of the NBA (it’s not) then new arenas would not be necessary with “large footprints” that are designed to keep that revenue stream inside of the building and funneled directly to the NBA. Realistically, sports cities that actually do benefit local economies are arenas or stadiums that are urban, such as Wrigley field (which is quite old), which is in the middle of a neighborhood surrounded by bars, restaurants, and other business that see a boost during and after games. Key Arena in Seattle was another urban arena, and we all saw what commissioner Stern thought about that.

    The NBA is not interested in a private-public partnerships. They are simply looking out for number 1. The fact is, the NBA is operating at a cost that it cannot pay for with ticket sales/merchandise/tv contracts alone. It now requires almost half a billion tax dollars per city every ten years or so in order to stay solvent. Literally billions of dollars are given to the NBA to keep the business afloat. In any other “business,” this demand would be laughed at for the fraud that it is.

    I’m a huge Kings fan, and I would be devastated if they left, but the truth is that the NBA is going to make a move that is in the best interests of the NBA; local governments, local economies, and years of tradition and fan support be damned. Bye-bye Vancouver Grizzlies, bye-bye Charlotte Hornets, bye-bye Seattle Supersonics, bye-bye Sacramento Kings. Indiana, Milwaukee, Portland, New Orleans, enjoy it while it lasts, but don’t hold out hope, as the NBA has started a dangerous trend that isn’t likely to stop any time soon.

  11. I don’t disagree with most of your points, but wanted to clarify something:

    “People like to point to San Antonio as the exception, yet San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the country”

    While that’s true, San Antonio is the 37th biggest media market in the US. Sacramento is #19. That comes into play much more than city population in these matters.

  12. I agree with Argonic’s point. The NBA will not be thrilled about exiting the 19th largest media market. And even though things look bleak now, somebody (some owner somewhere) is going to jump at the opportunity to move a pro sports franchise (not necessarily NBA) to Sac at some point if the city really does become a pro sports vacuum.

  13. Arconic, you beat me to the punch about San Antonio, much smaller overall market than Sacramento. Madzillagd, there is the $67 million loan to the city along with a $9 million prepayment penalty that will have to be paid back, as well as the traditional $30 million relocation fee to the NBA that would have to be paid, as well as payments to both the Lakers and Clippers for infringing on what was their market. Overall the Maloofs are looking at like $150 million to move. As for the small market stuff, starting next season there’s supposed to be greater revenue sharing with the smaller markets in regards to tv money. Seems like if the team stays here, they’d get a piece of that pie and be more profitable. If they leave, they’d probably be paying since they’d be in a large market and the bottom line might not be so great, since they’d only be tenants at the Honda Center and not get the concession money or parking money. Yeah, the tv money would be far greater, but they’d have to share it.