Yes, Sacramento needs a new arena.
Yes, it's pathetic that the city was unable to figure it out during the boom times five years ago.
But let's be straight: When the Maloofs move to Anaheim, it will be strictly because they need money right now. And a move -- if some kind of cash or loan is involved -- is the only way to get it.
The Kings are not owned by Mark Cuban or Paul Allen. Joe and Gavin Maloof do not have deep pockets. If fact, they might be lucky to have anything in their pockets at all. Furthermore, the entire Maloof empire is crumbling. The Palms Casino, once the hippest stop in Vegas, in now facing a severe financial crisis with huge debt on the property.
The Maloofs basically have no choice. If they stay in Sacramento, they get no influx of cash. If they move to Anaheim, they get some dough and get a chance to save their lifestyle.
Even if an arena deal is somehow hatched over the next couple of months, it would not mean a penny in the pockets of the Kings' owners.
Simply put, they have to move to survive. I'd probably do the same thing if it was my team.
However, I think the Maloofs deserve some of the blame for their current situation.
Instead of spending money to keep the team competitive, they went the austerity route, slowly dismantling the team in an effort to cut payroll. Right now, it's the lowest in the league.
This short-sighted strategy strangled the team, destroyed their winning ways, and took the steam out of the fans. Instead of a packed arenas and a city-wide buzz, they left themselves with sparse crowds and a "who cares" attitude among the public.
That's not a recipe for arena support.
Too often, they played the silence game when the arena issue arose. There never seemed a strong sense that they wanted to play a big role. And I never got the sense they really wanted to make Sacramento their permanent homes. They like the bright lights. Natomas just flickers.
In reality, a move to Anaheim is foolish.
Wait until the Maloofs wake up next season to realize they are mere dwarfs in the Los Angeles sports landscape. If the Kings continue to lose, the team will quickly become an irrelevant joke, playing third fiddle to the Lakers and Clippers, not to mention a bevy of other sports and recreation choices.
I'd like to be dead wrong about this. I'd like to believe there's hope that some deal can keep the Kings in town. I'd like to believe it's not just about saving the Maloof empire. I'd like to believe we'll all be sitting in an amazing new facility in four years.
But all signs point south.