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.