Friday, December 30, 2011

Second Annual Fire Paul Westphal Extravaganza...with added Fire Geoff Petrie Special

Hello, Kings fans, thank for joining us today at our second annual "Fire Paul Westphal Extravaganza."

It's a joyful time of the year when we take stock of the hometown team and realize that, oops, not only has Geoff Petrie assembled a dysfunctional array of talent, but that coach Paul Westphal is absolutely clueless about what to do with them.

Last year, after six games, we decided that Westphal was awful.

This year, it only took three games to bring back the dreary truth:  The man has not established an offense or a defense, nor has he instilled any sense of teamwork or cohesion.

Bill Simmons, ESPN's Sports Guy, tweeted the honest truth Thursday night:

Sacramento needs to change its name this year to the Sacramento Black Holes. Every Kings assist is an accident. Strangely fun to watch.

Now it might be fun for Bill, but it's torture for Kings fans.

Our humble suggestion:  Clean house.  The whole house, including the overrated Geoff Petrie, who has lived for more than a decade on the trade for Chris Webber.

He has assembled a dreadful mix of players.  Look at his acquisitions since last season:

John Salmons?  Ball-stopping re-tread who shouldn't be starting, much less even playing 10 minutes a game.

Travis Outlaw?  Huh?

J.J. Hickson:  Undisciplined power player who doesn't defend.

Chuck Hayes: Glue guy with little athletic ability but nice to have in the locker room.

There has never been such a collection of me-first players in Sacramento history.  Everybody wants their points.  Everybody wants the ball.  Nobody gets back on defense. Nobody communicates on defense.

The solution:



(oh, and please, trade Tyreke already)

Okay, I know what you're thinking.   That's chaos.  You can't just blow it up like that.  The Kings would just be starting from scratch again.

Uh, YUP.  

Because it ain't working.  Hasn't worked in more than 7 years.  And there is no sign that it's about to work.

Geoff Petrie has been getting a free ride for too long.  His decisions have been suspect at best.  There are an array of young GMs around the league who consistently make better moves.

Petrie must go.  Today.

Westphal must go.  Today.

Time for Joe and Gavin Maloof to show their frustration and pull the trigger.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fundamentally, Kings are awful

Lets see. The Kings can't make free throws. They get beaten in transition way too easily. They have no idea how to run a break. The offensive sets are non-existent.

 Can you say "fundamentally pathetic?" I can.

This is not about talent. Fundamentals are instilled with discipline by a good coach. They are something you can rely on when things get tough.

Right now, the Kings rely on one-on-one play and three-point shooting when times get tough. Sometimes that works, mostly it doesn't.

 Does anyone notice in the Kings' front office? Anyone?

Oh, and by the way, trade Tyreke Evans before his stock continues to plummet. The guy plays like a horse with blinders on, completely unable to see his teammates on the court.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Trade Tyreke Evans today. It's the right thing to do.

So let's see where we are after the most pivotal free-agent/trading period in Kings history.


That's right.  Absolutely nowhere.

After years of pointing to this season as the year for big deals and big trades and free-agent signings, the Kings find themselves in possibly worse position than they were a year ago.

They have no point guard.  In fact, they have nobody with even an inkling of how to distribute.

They have no shot blocker, unless they can somehow convince Samuel Dalembert to return to the fold.  Which also means they have no defense.  J.J. Hickson is not considered a strong defensive player.  DeMarcus Cousins was a disaster on defense last year.  And those two, ladies and gentlemen, are the team's big-man stoppers.

They have no small forward.  At least no small forward that can take the team to the next level.  John Salmons?  Please.  Still one of the worst transactions in recent NBA history.

Now the Chuck Hayes tragedy was certainly not the team's fault, but let's face it:  Hayes wasn't going to turn the team into contenders.  He would have been a nice piece and a fan favorite, but he wasn't going to change the team's fortunes.

So what to do now?

Well, there's only one thing you can do.


Trade him today.  Before he turns his next ankle.  Before he bullrushes into the lane again to throw up another ill-advised runner.  Before he ignores his teammates on fast breaks.  Before people in the league begin to figure out he's not really as good as his rookie hype.

Get me a point guard with skills.  Someone who can set up Jimmer and Thornton.  Get me a big man who will have opponents thinking twice in the lane.

Here's one target: How about Rajon Rondo of the Celtics.  Boston has been trying to move him for the last month.  He'd be perfect for the Kings.

This team, as currently constructed, is headed for disaster.  In fact, I have no idea what Geoff Petrie is thinking. Even in the land of the Timberwolves, they have assembled a team that actually makes sense.  Love. Rubio. Johnson.  That's a nice foundation.  The pieces are beginning to come together.

Here, in the land of the Kings,  Petrie has put together a no-defense team of chuckers.

It's sad, really.

And I don't expect it to get much better.

Unless, of course, I hear some juicy Tyreke rumors.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nothing's changed: Too many gunners, not enough passing or defense for Kings.

Things we learned after a trivial, meaningless preseason game:

-- Somebody needs to tell J.J. Hickson that the lockout is over.

--Jason Thompson still plays like a rookie.

--Stephen Curry is better than Tyreke Evans.

--Jimmer Fredette flashed a little of his college magic, but he has a long way to go to prove he's not a one-dimensional player.

--Marcus Thornton still likes to gun.

--There is absolutely no way the Kings can be a winning team with Evans, Fredette and Thornton and no distributor.  It is a lost cause and nobody can convince me otherwise.

--Hassan Whiteside needs to start apartment shopping in D-League cities.

--The Kings need to put in an urgent call to Samuel Dalembert.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Kings acquire Paul in blockbuster deal

In the blockbuster to end all blockbusters, the Sacramento Kings acquired Ron Paul in a deal for three No. 1 picks, Hassan Whiteside and the unlimited use of a suite at the Palms.

Paul, at 5-foot-6, was the target of  the team for the last month.

"Feels great," said Paul, who doesn't think his advanced age will hurt his play. "I believe in less coaching interference, more freedom for players, and legalizing performance enhancing drugs"

The Kings figure to use Paul as both a point guard and team spokesman.  "He a little ornery and keeps mumbling about keeping our noses out of Iran," said Petrie, "but the guy's got skills."

Tyreke Evans was shocked by the announcement. "Ron Paul,?" he asked, "Who the hell is Ron Paul?"

The move will shake up the Western Conference, as well as the Republican primary.  Paul will need to take off two games during the next month for debates.   "I can do both," Paul said.  "I'm in great shape.  And Newt is just plain fat.   He can't handle my moves.  Romney's an athlete, though.  I think from all the flip-floppin."

NBA commissioner David Stern loves the deal.  He called it a victory for small-market teams.

At the press conference, Paul tried on the new Kings black jersey, strutting around the practice facility before slightly straining a groin muscle while bending down to pick up a campaign button.

Joe Maloof was beaming. "I knew we'd land Paul," he shouted to no one in particular. "The glory days are back."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Asking NBA Commissioner David Stern to rescind the John Salmons trade

Petition to David Stern

Order of business: Revoking of past trade.

Remedy requested: Exile of John Salmons to beyond city limits.

Mr Stern,

As representative for the organization, Kings Fans With A Grudge, we petition the National Basketball Association to rescind the following trade:

Beno Udrih and the No. 7 pick to Milwaukee for John Salmons and the No. 10 pick, which turned out to be Jimmer Fredette.

This trade undermines the very fabric of fan enthusiasm in Sacramento.  The acquisition of the dour, me-first, pass-last, ball-stopping Salmons was easily one of the stupidest moves in recent Kings history.

It is for this reason, we ask you, Oh Mighty Commissioner, to revoke this trade with all your powers.

You have shown an extremely large set of balls over the past 24 hours and we believe these huge sexual organs will make it easy for you to send Mr. Salmons back to the Bucks.  And please send back Beno.

By the way, we'll keep Jimmer.

Thank you in advance.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Time for Kings to put up or shut up

Chuck Hayes?


That's the best we're gonna do?

Well, it ain't good enough.  Not by a long shot.

Not if you've been listening to the propaganda drivel spewed by this franchise over the past five years.  They've been waiting for this chance.  Waiting to spend.

Yes, I know Sacramento is a small-market with little or no appeal to the NBA's big names.

But now there is no excuse not to spend.  In fact, the dirt-poor Maloofs have to spend.  And that means they are going to have to do one of two things:

One:  Offer a max deal with stupid, silly money for either Tyson Chandler or Marc Gasol, hoping to make a big splash and possibly getting lucky.

Two:  Make a blockbuster trade.

I vote for the second option, mainly because the Kings have some talented players that are highly coveted around the league.

I'd trade DeMarcus Cousins or Tyreke Evans in a second if I could bring back some upper-crust valuable win-now talent.   I'm not convinced either player is a team player.  And Sacramento fans don't have another four years to watch them develop.  After all, the team could be in Anaheim by this time next December.

It's time to win now.  Like this minute.  This season.

Get me some unselfish ballers.  Some veterans.  Some winners.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Countdown to Kings events you absolutely know are coming

Okay, the season is about to begin, but Kings fans don't have to worry about how things will play out.  We here at Kings Talking Points already know...

So circle your calendars and watch for these noteworthy events:

7 DAYS until...

We hear that Donte Greene is a new man.  In perfect shape.  His shot looking fine.  Ready to become a huge contributor.

10 DAYS until...

Tyreke Evans turns his ankle in practice.  Officials announce he's day-to-day.  The trainer talks about alternative therapies.  Evans limps through the rest of the season.

24 DAYS until...

Donte Greene airballs three straight shots and disappears for a 10-minute stretch during a pivotal point in the game.  Westphal sits Greene for the next five games.

33 DAYS until...

We realize that absolutely nobody on this team wants to pass the ball.  Selfishness prevails.  Assists are non-existent.  And Geoff Petries realizes that, oops, they should've actually found a true point guard.

45 DAYS until...

DeMarcus Cousins enjoys his first full-blown meltdown of the season, glaring at his teammates and coach after getting tossed out of the game for whining at an official.  In the locker room, Cousins acts contrite and proclaims he's matured.

60 DAYS until...

Sacramento's attempt at getting an arena officially fizzles and we realize that this is really the last season of pro basketball in Sacramento.

72 DAYS until...

The Kings fire Paul Westphal when they discover he's installed a worthless offense and a clueless defense.

87 DAYS until...

Jimmer Fredette takes control of the team and makes it his own, giving the Kings a leader for the first time in ages.  Evans sulks and eventually....

96 DAYS until...

Evans is dealt in a blockbuster trade.

122 DAYS until...

The team, under a new coach and instilled with new confidence, begins to win games and open eyes around the league

146 DAYS until...

The season winds down in a mix of renewed enthusiasm and a hail of despair.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Time for Kings to go all-in with big offer to Gasol

No more sitting on the sidelines while the rest of the NBA wheels and deals.

It's time for Geoff Petrie to pull off a major coup.  And now that the new labor agreement forces the dirt-poor Maloofs into spending more dough, it's time to think big.  Really big.

My suggestion: Throw a ton of stupid money at Memphis restricted free agent center Marc Gasol.

He is easily the most talented and valuable free agent available on the market.  He's a young, talented center who would fit marvelously next to DeMarcus Cousins.

Make the Grizzlies match a ridiculous offer.  Make them squirm.  Make them do something they don't want to do: Sign Gasol to a silly deal.

So, you're asking yourself, why would the Kings want to make a silly deal?

Because they can.

Because they have the cap space.

Because they need to spend.

Because they need to make themselves relevant in the NBA again.

Because they can't wait yet another year.

Yes, it could backfire, but I'd rather see them take a big swing than bunt again.

This is the year that was promised to Kings fans.  This was when they were going to come out slugging and go after free agents.

So go do it.


No more excuses.

Notice the Kings are barely registering on the NBA rumor mill.  Why is that?  They should be involved in every trade rumor, every free agent rumbling.

So make it happen. No more money wasted on the likes of Samuel Dalembert or Marcus Thornton.  Combine their salary offers and make Gasol an offer he can't refuse.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


 The NBA lockout is over an you can feel the passion again.  Just look around the city of Sacramento.  The signs are everywhere -- actual signs.

Have a look...

And yes, I am very immature.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Maloofs show their empty pockets with support of Power Balance

Gavin and Joe Maloof are desperate for cash.

That is the only explanation for their incredibly tone-deaf support of the fraudulent Power Balance company, a business that will be forced to refunds millions of dollars to customers for allegedly peddling a scam product.

According to Kings spokesman Chris Clark, the Kings are still quite satisfied to be in business with Power Balance simply because "they have assured us of their commitment to the Sacrmento Kings."

Without scientific evidence,  Power Balance bracelets seem to nothing but overpriced, worthless trinkets that pretend to have magical powers.  And that's why they were sued.

But with the NBA season on hold and their financial situation in turmoil, the Maloofs are grasping at any penny thrown their way.

It's time for them to figure out an exit strategy.

Sell the team.

Make a run for it.

It's best for the city of Sacramento.

The Maloofs are paupers.  We need Kings.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

We'll soon see if Maloofs are going to back up their words with hard cash

With the end of the lockout looming, it's almost time to focus on basketball-related matters again.

Specifically, free agency.

More specifically, the Maloofs and their wallets and free agency.

Just last spring, after the team was miraculously saved for one more season in Sacramento, Gavin and Joe Maloof pledged that they would finally open the bank vault and go in big for free agents.

Does anyone still believe that?

Because I sure don't.  The family finances are still in a downward spiral.  Sister Adrienne, of Beverly Hills Housewife fame, is even crying poor.

I'd like to be proven wrong, but I don't see how the Kings invest a ton of money this season.  I still think the owners bear a bit of a grudge against Sacramento for submarining their Anaheim deal.  They probably don't believe the city will get their act together on an arena deal so why spend money right now?  Do it after they go to Anaheim in order to make a big splash in Southern Cal.

Then again, maybe the Maloofs are newly committed to Sacramento.

But I'll believe it when I see them writing checks.  Unfortunately, there might not be enough in the bank to stop those checks from bouncing.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Build it in Natomas, stupid

The pipe dream that is the Railyards Arena may be the stupidest political folly in recent memory.

With more moving parts than a Rube Goldberg contraption, this longshot plan is a grand slam home run if it somehow comes together.

But the more likely outcome is that it will crumble.  And crumble badly.

Now here's the sad part:  Building a new arena on the site of the current arena would be far cheaper to fund, easier to build, more cost effective as a construction project, and smarter overall.

The infrastructure is there.  The parking is there.  The freeway on-ramps are there.  The footprint is there.

It's a slam dunk at this point simply because the city has probably targeted enough financial sources to fund a new Natomas arena right now.

So what's the upside to building in Natomas?

Well, you keep the Kings, for one.

And you have an arena far sooner.

You don't need to wade through environmental reports, crazy parking schemes, and rely on a plan that may or may not appeal to the Maloofs.

Plus, you don't decimate the economy surrounding the current arena.

I say build in the railyards, but don't build an arena.  Build an entertainment complex -- how about an amphitheatre for first-rate concert acts.

Mayor Johnson, just shelve the downtown arena folly right now.

Save the Kings in Natomas and you still look just as good.  And you still create plenty of construction jobs.

The answer is a no-brainer.

Time for someone with brains to make the right call.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Rise Guys are gone and mornings won't be the same for Kings fans

I have to admit, one of my biggest enjoyments as a Kings fan was listening to The Rise Guys in the morning on KHTK as they broke down the games.

It was always fun to listen to them after an especially excruciating loss or an exhilarating win.

They were refreshing and funny and insightful.  And that's a rare commodity in this town, especially at a sports station that specializes in a boorish afternoon host with no sense of humor and a squad of dull lackeys who man the pre- and post-game radio shows.

Whitey Gleason, Phantom, and my old cohort Mark Kreidler were the only place to turn to get a sense of the real pulse of this NBA town.

The point guard for the past decade has been Whitey, an every-man fan who ran the show with skill, satire and precision, dishing out assists to his partners.  Phantom was always the sardonic realist,  his bone-dry humor always piercing the conversation. And Kreidler, who just joined the team this year, was the intellectual rationalist.

It was fun.  And interesting.  And the only real place to turn for entertaining Sacramento sports talk.

Now they are gone (at least Whitey and Kreidler), off to San Francisco radio and a new adventure.

And we are left with Don Geronimo in the morning.  He'll be moving from his afternoon slot.   And for me at least, I'm a little underwhelmed.

I used to be a big fan of the Don and Mike Show.  It was must listening for me in the mid-nineties.  It was silly, immature stupid fun.  I thought listening to Don weave his stories was endlessly fascinating.

Unfortunately, that may not be the case anymore.

Although he's still a compelling voice in radio, his schtick hasn't evolved much and the naughty boy act seems a little old and fraying.

I'm sure he'll still have an audience in the morning.  And maybe he'll be bigger than ever.  That's not the point. The point is the loss of a show that gave Kings fans somewhere to turn when they woke up with a hangover after watching the team fumble away another loss.  Or someplace to exult when somehow there was hope again.

My Kings mornings won't be the same without the Rise Guys.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

John Salmons? Worst. Move. Ever.

It's 2 p.m. on draft day and I'm hallucinating.

Somebody just tweeted that the Kings acquired John Salmons from the Bucks in a swap of draft choices. And that Beno was gone.

Jokesters, those twitter folks.

See, nobody in his right mind thinks that adding another selfish shoot-first player with a bloated contract to the Kings is a good idea.

Right?  Right?


Now things might change.  Maybe Geoff Petrie has some great move from 1998 up his sleeve, but this is it.

It's 10:30 at night and my nightmare has not subsided. We really did trade for the most sullen player in the NBA.

But there's a bright side:

The Kings drafted Jimmer Fredette.

Only maybe it ain't so bright, because the Kings have seemingly decided to give him the keys to the franchise without a learner's permit.  He will be running the team this season, whether he's ready or not.

You can't blame the Maloofs.  They want to sell tickets.  But they are making Jimmer the new face of the franchise.  In fact, he's the third different face of the franchise in three years, an NBA record.

Will he be good?  Who the hell knows?  We thought Bobby Hurley was gonna be good.

Meanwhile, if the Kings had only stood pat, they would have been in position to snare Brandon Knight, who dropped to 7 and was there for the taking.

Even scarier is that right now the team has no point guards to back him up.  As in zero.  Beno would have been nice to keep.  He had his best year ever and brought a certain level of maturity to floor.

Instead, we get the brooding and immensely enigmatic John Salmons, who has to be dancing a jig about returning to Sacramento.  Just a horrible move.  It makes no sense on any level.

Who is running this asylum?  The Maloofs?  Petrie?  Deranged elves?

Can anyone say the Kings are better with Jimmer and Salmons than Jimmer and Beno?  Or Brandon Knight and Beno?  Or Tony Parker and Richard Jefferson?  Just baffling.

Petrie needs a break from this trade stuff.  He needs a break from basketball.  And the Maloofs, who have him bent over and awaiting their commands.

The Sacramento fans deserve better than a trade for an unlikable retread from five years ago.

They should have just drafted Jimmer with the 7 and spared us this ridiculousness.  But the Kings were afraid of looking foolish by drafting him so high.  So they traded down to look more basketball brainy and instead made them look even more foolish.

Petrie better have some answers... some deals... some great ideas... because draft day was a mess.

To be continued...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kings shouldn't settle for anything less than a blockbuster trade

So all of a sudden the Kings want to win right now.

They've been linked to trades for Tony Parker and Ray Felton.

One problem:  While both of them are nice players, neither will help them win now, unless winning now means winning 32 games instead of 24.  Parker has been an All-Star, but he's also been surrounded by amazing talent.  He does not shoot well from the outside.  And he is injury prone.  He'd definitely give the team a lift, but I don't believe he's enough of a difference maker to warrant the move.

Look, there are just too many talented teams out there.  The only way to break through is by acquiring a top tier talent who can change the outcome of a game on his own.

If the Kings want to win now, they are going to have to package their most valuable assets and swing for the fences.

That means dealing Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins and getting star talent. Maybe combined with  shooting for the No. 2 pick in the draft.

I'm totally on board with that strategy.  The Celtics did it a few years back when they made their up-and-coming power forward Al Jefferson part of a package for established star Kevin Garnett.

And the Kings are in a glorious position to make such a deal.  They are under the cap -- far under the cap -- so they don't have to worry about salaries matching up.

It's time for Geoff Petrie to live up to the dusty genius label that has faded dramatically after a dormant decade.

Be bold.

Make the Kings matter again.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Time for the Kings to end their passive approach to acquiring players

Should the Kings be wheeling and dealing on draft day?

Damn straight.

After five years of a dormant approach to garnering talent, it's time to let Geoff Petrie loose.  

The Kings have a lot of nice pieces and a No. 7 pick. It's time to get aggressive.  Package the picks and some players for a talented veteran.  Maybe try to move up and snag Derrick Williams.  Move down, grab a vet, and pick up Jimmer.

All I know is this:  The Kings can't just sit on their hands.  The Maloofs talked a big game about opening their wallets.  Now it's time to put up or shut up.

Contrary to dire reports about their finances, the Maloofs do have substantial money in the bank.  They are better off than it seems. 

So let's have some fun.  Let's give the fans a reason to get excited, even though they probably won't see the players until January due to the lockout.

Make a deal.  Make a lot of deals.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why I would blow up the Kings

The building blocks are there.

The team is ready to take the next step.

Add a piece or two and they are ready to make a playoff run.

This is conventional wisdom about the state of the Kings.

I don't buy it.  Not for a minute.  And that's why I think the time is perfect to do the unthinkable.

Hire a great coach, explode the roster with daring trades, and buy strong into the the talent market.

This might sound completely insane, but stick with me for a moment.  The King are not a good team, but they do have some very marketable pieces.  Personally, I don't believe Tyreke Evans or DeMarcus Cousins are the type of players that will lead your team to the promised land.  In fact, I'm pretty sure of that it's downright delusional.

Neither is a great team player.  Neither has a great work ethic.  And Cousins, in particular, just seems too risky to bet on in the long-term.  But they do have value around the league.

Right now, the Kings have a chance to remake the team in a way impossible over the past decade. They have a ton of cap room and they'll be competing for players against teams who will most likely be facing a hard cap.

So here's my 5-step plan:

BLOCKBUSTER 1: Trade Tyreke Evans, Jason Thompson and the No. 7 to the Timberwolves for Kevin Love and the second pick.  With the second pick, select multi-talented forward Derrick Williams out of Arizona.  Kid is gonna be a stud.

FREE-AGENT SIGNING NO. 1:  J.J. Barea, point guard, Mavericks.  He looked a little Nash-like for Dallas and would bring energy and speed to the Kings immediately.  An unrestricted free agent, he might be available at the right price since Mark Cuban won't be able to throw money past the hard cap.

FREE-AGENT SIGNING NO. 2:  Marc Gasol, center, Memphis. One of the top centers in the league.  Young, underrated, skilled. He restricted also, so you'll have to pay big.

BLOCKBUSTER 2: Trade DeMarcus Cousins to the Wizards for athletic monster Javale McGee and the 18th pick in the first round.

DRAFT SELECTION: With the 18th pick, select 6-8 shooting whiz Jordan Hamilton out of Texas.

Your new starting five:
JJ Barea
Marcus Thornton
Derrick Williams
Kevin Love
Marc Gasol

Your bench:
Jordan Hamilton
Javale McGee
Omri Casspi
Beno Udrih
Donte Greene

Now you need a coach.  I heard Rick Adelman is available.

Okay, we're set.

Now let's go win a title.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Agitated and unhinged, Joe Maloof is a man in true denial mode

If there's one thing we've discovered through this entire relocation saga, it's this:  Both the fans and the Maloofs have been put through a meat grinder.

We've seen over the past months how the fans have reacted -- with creativity, enthusiasm and verve.

But we hadn't seen the toll on the Maloofs until Monday.  Specifically, until Monday afternoon when Sacramento Kings owner Joe Maloof was interviewed on KHTK's Grant Napear show.

It was disturbing, to say the least.

Maloof was clearly agitated and out-of-breath.  Maybe even severely sleep deprived.  You could almost feel his sweat coming through the radio. He seemed defensive, annoyed and downright frayed.  An image of Gary Busey comes to mind. He said all the right things, but the subtext was palpable.  He was a man done wrong.

Joe Maloof denied his family was in financial trouble.  He denied the league forced him to stay in Sacramento.   In fact, he denied the return to Sacramento was anything but  his family's idea.

Yes, this was a man in real denial.

And I didn't believe a word of it.

He sounded especially unhinged when talking about a seat snafu in the final game of the season when Lakers fans were seated in the customary Maloof seats.  Joe huffed and puffed, sputtered and disavowed any knowledge of the incident.

His voice rose and fell as he tried to put his thoughts together.  He vowed to spend money on free agents and compete, but it wasn't clear where all this new money was coming from.

By the time the interview was over, I could imagine Joe collapsing on the floor in a puddle.

In the end, it doesn't much matter what brought the team back to Sacramento.  They are here and the city gets one last shot.

But whether Joe Maloof can last another year without puncturing a blood vessel in his brain is another story.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Doomsday Scenario and the other outcomes to the Maloof mess

Bookmakers at the Palms Casino are taking odds on various scenarios over the next few days.  Take a look and place your wager.

THE DOOMSDAY SCENARIO: Fed up with their treatment from both the NBA and Sacramento city leaders, the Maloofs decide to sell -- but not to Ron Burkle.  They sell to Anaheim's Henry Samueli, throwing the team into the hands of a man determined to rip the team from Sacramento at any cost.  Odds: 100-1

THE "REVERSAL OF FORTUNES" SCENARIO:  The Maloofs file for relocation and somehow get the needed votes to okay the move.  Sacramento is sucker-punched.  ODDS: 40-1

THE "SHOVE-IT STERN" SCENARIO:  The boys lose the vote, poke little David Stern in the eyes, defy the league,  file a lawsuit, and take the team to Anaheim. ODDS: 35-1

THE HAPPY RETURN SCENARIO:  Carmichael Dave joins hands with the Maloofs in a tearful celebration rally at Power Balance.  The brothers vow to stay in Sacramento for the foreseeable future and work diligently to make a new arena happen.  ODDS: 12-1 

THE FIRE SALE SCENARIO: Forced to return to Sacramento, the Maloofs sell to Burkle in an effort to stave off bankruptcy. ODDS: 8-1

THE ONE-YEAR STALL SCENARIO:  The Maloofs suck it up and allow the team to return to Sacramento, but feel determined to submarine any arena deal, giving the team a clear path to head for Anaheim the following season. ODDS: 5-2

Okay, fans, windows close in just 48 hours.  Tell me your bets now.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Revealed: The secret pages from Joe Maloof's diary over the past few weeks

Many Sacramento fans have wondered about the state of mind of Kings ownership over the past few weeks.  Well, wonder no more.

Thanks to an inside source. we were slipped a number of pages from the alleged personal diary of Joe Maloof.

The thoughts are quite revealing.  Read on:

April 13:  Arrive in New York.   Order champagne for pre-meeting celebration.  Asked my assistant to secure tickets to hottest show on Broadway: "Spiderman - Turn Off The Dark."   I love big shows.  Lots of cool special effects and flying.  Risky stuff, but what could go wrong?

April 14: Prepared Anaheim proposal for NBA Board of Governors with brother Gavin and my best bud Mayor Tommy of Anaheim.  I asked why we only had a sketchy one-page outline of the proposal.  Tommy just smirked and ordered more popcorn shrimp and imported beer from room service.   Sent text message to Dave Stern:  "Done deal, right?"  His response was interesting: "LMAO." Later that night, Tommy feel asleep on my leg.  I think he got drool on me.

April 15:  My advisors tell me that the meeting didn't go too well.  Mark Cuban supposedly flipped me the bird when I was checking my Blackberry.  I think it went great.  We are gonna be rolling in the dough when we head south.   Just in time, too.  Haven't made my car payment in three months.  Just heard about some movement in Sacramento called Here We're Built by some dude name Carmel Dave.  What a joke.  Nobody pays attention to crap like that.  By the way, who the hell is Ron Burkle?  Told my assistant to do a Google search.

Just got word.  Two-week delay before we're officially the Royals.  Oh well, not like I have anything better to do.  Maybe I'll take some online college courses in business.  

April 16: Saw Kevin Johnson strutting through the lobby.  Suddenly, the dude has confidence.  Never saw that before. By the way, I told him that Burkle is a prick.  And the team is not for sale.  My brother George told me to say that, even though I would sell in a heartbeat if we got a good offer.  I need some cash.  Yes, I could ask my sister Adrienne for a loan, but she just dropped a load on a brow lift and seems a little light on funds.

April 17:  Back in Vegas.  Home sweet home.  Gonna spend all day playing blackjack, wearing tight shirts, and glad-handing all the skateboarders at poolside.  Told my assistant to get me the real estate listings for Anaheim.   Looking for a nice foreclosure I can get cheap.  Very cheap.

April 18: My brother George whisked me away to his office to give me good news.  Seems the NBA got that carpet-bagging dude who stole the Sonics from Seattle to look into our relocation.  Woo-hoo.  Stern is a genius.

April 19:  Got wind of another idiotic movement.  Here We Purple Nurple?   Huh?  Sounds like a fraternity prank.  Sacramento fans are usually very creative, but I don't get this one.  Saw a video blog by that Carmel Dave guy.  Talk about charisma.  Was that his garage?

April 20:  Emergency meeting at the poolside bar.  Gavin is pale.  First thought:  He needs sunscreen.  George says it looks like we're going back to Sac.  I'm shocked.  Ask assistant to lend me his credit card so I can order a Turkey Club.  Always feel better with bacon.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Maloofs need to make a grand gesture to Kings fans - and fast

The Maloof family is about to suffer an excruciating case of  whiplash.  They had the moving trucks parked at Pea Soup Andersen's on I-5, taking a little rest before heading down to Disneyland.

But they are about to receive a text message from the NBA.

Turn around, dudes.

Now this sudden and stunning turn of events puts old Joe and Gavin in a bit of spot.

How are they gonna make nice-nice with Sacramento after slobbering Anaheim with full wet kisses?

Well, there is one very simple way.

Don't wait until May 2.

Don't make the Sacramento fans twist any longer.

Come out on Monday -- in public, preferably in a nice outdoor setting -- and announce that you have ended your affair with that other city and you are happy to be back home.

Bring in Chris Webber to stand with both of you on the podium.  Maybe Mitch Richmond.  Hey, even Rick Adelman would be a great gesture.  And, of course, Mayor Johnson and Carmichael Dave.

Say the right things.  Wear purple.  Pump your fleshy fists.  And vow to work tirelessly to get an arena done.

It would be a grand, noble gesture.

A giant make-up hug.

And maybe the relationship can be mended.

But letting this draw out and trying to salvage the deal to Anaheim will only alienate the fans.

Time to do the right thing.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Kings team in flux poses intriguing questions

Perplexing, intriguing and downright delightful questions to ponder about the current state of the Kings franchise...

At this point, how in the world could the NBA pull the rug out from Sacramento?  The two-week extension has grown into an avalanche of enthusiasm.  Now, most Kings fans are assuming the NBA is going to give the city a one-year reprieve.  Commissioner David Stern would be roundly vilified if he yanked the team away at this point.  It would be heartless, pathetic and the worst public relations move of all time.

By the way, how the hell did this happen, anyway?  I was dead wrong when I pronounced the team gone.  Now it's like the world of professional sports has turned upside-down.  How does a small-market win in a scenario like this?  It just doesn't happen.  Does it?

Okay, let's say the Kings stay.  How much money do the Maloofs really have?  Are they truly broke?  If so, forget about free-agent signings or any trades to bring in high-salaried talent.  The Brothers have been pontificating for years about the need to wait for a new collective bargaining agreement before they open up the wallets.  What if they open their wallets and nothing comes out but dust?

Will we ever hear from Ron Burkle again?  The Billionaire's name shook the floor at the meeting of the NBA Board of Governors.  Is there any reason to believe that his name won't surface again?

If the Kings do get a one-year window to come up with an arena deal, how long would it take to actually build the building?  Can Arco, er, Power Balance, work for the Maloofs for another three or four years?

Finally, will Carmichael Dave use his new base of power to launch a career in politics?  Will his movie-star looks jettison him to new heights?

I want answers, damn it.  And I want them now.

Or a little later would be okay, too.

If it's not too much trouble.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Get with it, Mayor Johnson: Step up with an arena funding plan right now

Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson has been basking in glory over the past week, ever since his seemingly triumphant performance in front of the NBA board of governors.

Yes, KJ put on an impressive show, they say.  And Sacramento got a two-week stay of execution.

But Anaheim is quietly regrouping and still holds a huge upper hand.

And that's why I am unsatisfied - even disappointed - with the Mayor over the last couple of days,

He seems to be playing prevent defense instead of going for the victory.  It's a silly strategy, considering the Kings are far behind and not in front.

Right now, the only thing that will save the Kings is some kind of viable funding option for a new arena.

But on that single question, the Mayor is basically punting.

When asked about a possible arena funding plan, he offers no answers.  And right about now he needs answers.  Big answers.

It's time to get creative.  To think out of the box.

Ticket surcharges.  Hotel taxes.  Call Goldman Sachs, who helped build Louisville's new arena.  Get some Burkle bonds.

C'mon, give the NBA something.

The NBA ain't staying without a shiny new box for the Kings.

And no matter how much KJ brags about the fans, the NBA will not vote against relocation if they don't see an arena plan that makes sense right now.

Some say it's impossible to come up with a plan in such a short time.

I don't.  I think creative minds in a city filled with movers and shakers can get it done.

Just letting relocation maven Clay Bennett sink his toes into the muddy expanse of nothing at the Railyards won't work.  He needs to see how the vision becomes reality on paper.  And so does the NBA.

Time to take the last shot, Mr. Mayor.

Only a few seconds left.

Don't dish it off and expect to get the ball back.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Louisville's arena story: A compelling video on why Sacramento should build a new arena

Goldman Sachs helped to finance an arena in Louisville.  In doing so, they also put out one of the most compelling and concise video essays ever on why an arena would be great idea for Sacramento.

This should have been a campaign infomercial aired the night before the last ballot measure to build a new arena here in Sacramento.

Have a look...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Cash-strapped Maloofs squirm as they go from whales to minnows

Is there anything more delicious than watching the cash-strapped Maloof boys squirm as their long-anticipated move to Anaheim slowly disintegrates?

I'll be honest.  I thought there were long gone.  And that's probably still true, but the events of the last two days are just fascinating to witness.

After playing ridiculous hardball with the city in negotiations for a new arena and then dismantling the team in the name of economics and killing the attendance, they are a bundle of mock outrage because an interloper has the nerve to make them look like small-time players.

Yup, welcome to the recession, Gavin and Joe.  You are cash poor and so are we.  How does it feel?

And now you're ready to blame Billionaire  Burkle for trying to move in and take your team.

Deal with it.

The Maloof brothers are like those Jersey guys in shiny suits who strut boldly and believe that outward signs of obvious wealth are what matter most.

Hell, Adrienne Maloof is the poster girl for such nonsense.  She paraded around the arena concourse Wednesday night, huge camera crew in tow, dressed to kill in designer clothes, and sporting a look so surgically enhanced you thought her face might implode at a moment's notice.

Yet this is the image Joe and Gavin and George Maloof want to convey.

Except for one important fact.

They're broke.

And Burkle isn't.

Suddenly,  the NBA owners are looking at the Maloofs as expendable.   The league is a club for the whales, not the minnows.

Is Sacramento an NBA town?  Maybe not.  But there's a guy with awful deep pockets who thinks it just might be.

And that might just be good enough for David Stern and the rest of the Billionaire Boys Club.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hail Mary attempts to keep the Kings and the sad honest truth

Hail Mary passes are fun.

Launched high in the air with a prayer, hoping for a deflection or two, a defender misjudging, a lunging grab, and then maybe, just maybe, a miracle.

There are a lot of Hail Marys being tossed in Sacramento of late, most notably "Here We Build," the brainchild of KHTK's Carmichael Dave.

It's basically an arena telethon. Make your pledge to finance a new arena and watch the tote board soar.

It would be easy to throw cold water on this attempt, but it's a chance for the common folk of Sacramento to feel a little bit in control of their fate. And that's important as Kings fans watch helplessly as their beloved team creeps out of town.

I say knock yourself out. Go for it. I will never criticize activism in the name of civic good.

But then there's this: the effort to collect signatures in Anaheim to put the city's bond measure on a public ballot.

It's an interesting strategy, but it's petty and silly. You wonder how people in Sacramento would feel if another city took to our streets to prevent us from luring a franchise back to town.

SPOILER ALERT: Don't read further if you don't want to learn an important secret.

The Kings are gone.


Out of here.

The city blundered with silly strategies. The Maloofs tore down the team and destroyed enthusiasm. And now it's over.

Only the Lakers, by bringing to bear an outrageous relocation fee, could even have the slightest chance in hell of changing the outcome.

So now it's time to think future, not past.

I doubt the money's here to build an arena without the Kings, but I'd still love to see an amazing development in the railyards. I'd still like to see a new entertainment facility for concerts and shows.

The main focus of the city should be economic development. Rebuild the base. Grow prosperity. Bring in corporate entities that may someday be willing to partner in an arena project down the road.

It may take a decade or more to see pro sports here again. It may never happen. But there's a city to grow in Sacramento. A city that can be vibrant and alive. Already, in parts of downtown, new restaurants and clubs have begun to make such an impact. There's a whole lot more to do.

The Kings added flavor and passion and their loss hurts. But now it's time for a rebirth.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Why the Maloofs are now to blame for the hateful, bitter divorce

And now begins the hateful divorce.

It's getting ugly, sports fans.  This is gonna end up worse than discovering Snooki at the opposite side of the table on a blind date.

On Monday afternoon, the city of Sacramento sent an email to the city of Anaheim.  It was a last-ditch attempt to make sure the Kings didn't leave town without paying off their $77 million loan.

The Maloof boys got all angry when they read the letter.

But here's the bottom line: At this point, the Brothers Grim have nobody to blame but themselves.

They could have done this with skill and class.  They could have been upfront.  They could have made known their intention to make good on the loan to the city, whatever happened.

But no.

They were going to skulk out of town in a haze of confusing and bitter fog.  And maybe, just maybe, they were going to leave Sacramento holding the bag.

Not a single news conference or interview to explain why Anaheim was the right destination for their franchise.  Not a single word about how they were ready to stand tall and honor all their loan obligations.

Nope.   Nothing.

And then, Joe Maloof finally decided to weigh in with Randy Youngman of the Orange County Register on Monday night.  He sounded like a wiseguy from Jersey.

"You better be careful," he said.  "Don't mess around and interfere with our business."

What's he going to do?  Shoot Mayor Johnson with a t-shirt cannon?

The so-called masters of customer service have moved on to a new fan base.  And they are treating the old fans like garbage.  Not with honesty and respect.  But with subterfuge.

The Maloofs are broke.  Financially and spiritually.

They pillaged the franchise for the last five years, saving every ounce of cash while watching the team go down in flames.

They watched the arena empty, while begging pity about not getting a brand new building.

Gavin and Joe Maloof are middle-aged dweebs who got in over their head.

And now they're running.

It's a sad sight.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Anti-Maloof Rally Planned: "Lockout Love-In" To Draw Thousands

In a complete change of direction, fans are now organizing a unique rally to send a message to the NBA and to the owners of the Sacramento Kings.

The event, titled "Lockout Love-In to Screw the Maloofs," is a demonstration to show David Stern and the league that Sacramento fully supports a lockout next season.

More than 10,000 fans are expected to show up on the front lawn of Gavin Maloof's palatial Natomas home in order to voice their desire to see a lockout.

"If we can't have basketball here next year," said one fan, "we sure as hell don't want there to be basketball in Anaheim.  This is a very constructive and emotionally satisfying way of saying 'suck it, Maloofs.' ''

With all signs pointing to a move to Anaheim, Kings fans are coming together in hopes of seeing the Maloof brothers sitting in an idle Honda Center next season.

"Sure, it's sour grapes," said another irate fan.  "But look, they dismantled our team for the last five years, cut payroll to the bone, and expected us to keep paying our hard-earned money to watch guys like Luther Head. Plus, they wanted us to finance a new arena so they could get more luxury boxes.  Luxury boxes?  When the hell was I gonna sit in a luxury box? I can barely afford one of their freakin' Royal Shawarma plates."

Many of the potential "Love-In" organizers believe the Maloofs have been planning this move for years and wanted to drain the energy from the Sacramento faithful to make their move look less distasteful.

"Yeah, Arco is no prize," said another fan, "but we would have filled the joint if they had kept a winning product out there.  And they have never been active in the efforts to build an arena.  They always just sat back and said almost nothing."

A lockout would put the Maloofs in a precarious financial situation.  Their business empire is already crumbling and the move to Anaheim is widely perceived as an effort to bolster their bottom line.

Organizers are asking fans to bring locks of every size and shape.  "Bring a padlock or a bicycle lock and scream like a maniac," said the event's organizer, a well-known radio personality who wants to remain anonymous.  "Our fondest hope is that the NBA labor strife wipes out next season and maybe more. We're bitter. And we want to show it."