Monday, February 27, 2012

Maloofs come up with the cash... and, poof, an arena deal is born

Okay, I admit it.  Never figured the Maloofs would agree to stay in Sacramento and dole out the heavy cash.

I still don't quite know where they intend to get the money or how they intend to compete as NBA owners but, hey, it looks like Sacramento is going to get an arena.

And that's all that matters.  An arena means hundreds of construction jobs and a downtown that actually matters after dark.

Still, I wasn't sure how this was going to all turn out.  After all, I was lucky enough to get a spy photo of Gavin Maloof during the negotiations... he sures knows how to bluff...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Arena deal just doesn't pencil out with Maloofs as owners

Do the Maloofs have any money left?

That's the $387 million question as the all-important arena vote looms.

With the team struggling to fill the arena, their Power Balance naming rights deal in tatters, their casino interests drained almost to zero, and no other seeming revenue streams, how do these guys come up with any cash?

It's almost comical to think they will be able to pony up with anything close to the $85 million that Sacramento is demanding to build the arena.

And would the NBA lend them the money when Anaheim is willing and able to welcome them without a penny out of pocket?

This is looking bleak.  And sadly, it's not going to be on the City of Sacramento this time.  Because unless the Brothers Maloof finally relent and sell the team, I can't see how this deal works.

Does commissioner David Stern have the juice to force a sale? Doubtful.  Especially after the lockout fiasco that proved small-market teams have begun to erode his once enormous power.

Let's look at some harsh numbers:

--In 2009-10, a total of 23 of the NBA's team worked at an operating loss.  Eleven teams had net losses of more than $20 million.  With the economy in the tank and Sacramento hurting, you can bet the Kings are one of the league's least profitable teams.

--The Kings already owe the city the balance of a $70 million loan.  Combine that with a $60 million loan from the NBA and Maloofs would be sitting on $130 million in debt with no positive cash flow.

--The Kings would be simply tenants in the new building, meaning they would get no cash flow from parking or other events beyond basketball.

Now, nobody has yet explained why the Kings need to come up with this huge block of cash upfront.  It doesn't really make sense.  Yearly leasing fees would be much easier for the team to handle.

But that's the game of chicken being played right now.

From this vantage point, only new owners with very deep pockets make this deal in Sacramento work.

I could be wrong.  I hope I am.

But the Kings could not be in worse shape.  On the court, the team is a mismatched assemblage of ill-fitting parts.  Off the court, the owners have become financial zombies, former millionaires who just stumble through life with the desperate aura of lost wealth.

I just can't see how the Kings remain in Sacramento with the Maloofs as owners.

Zombie Arena is just not going to cut it.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Secret Transcript of personal call between C-Webb and Grant Napear

By now, you've probably heard about the infamous encounter between Chris Webber and Grant Napear on Grant's radio show on Friday.  If you didn't, here's a quick recap: 

C-Webb babbled on for three minutes about how he has made it his one-man mission to save the Kings and was offended that someone would question his motives, all the while never answering Napear's question about an obvious misstatement made during TNT's Thursday night' broadcast against the Thunder.  He then hung up.

Easily the most entertaining moment in the history of Grant Napear simply because:

A.)  Grant barely spoke.
B.)  Webber showed himself to be a total ass.

But did anyone know that Napear allegedly made a personal call to Webber off the air just minutes after his show ended.

Thanks to an inside source at the radio station, we have the alleged transcript of that call.

Grant: Yo, Chris...

Webber:  Who's this?

Grant: It's me.  Grant.

Webber: Shit.

Grant: Don't hang up.

Webber: I game you the damn interview.  What else do you want?

Grant: I just wanted--

Webber: To apologize?

Grant: No.

Webber: I'm C-Webb, you know.

Grant: I know.

Webber:  Don't freakin' question me.  Tell me your sorry.

Grant: But I just wanted--

Webber: I love Sacramento.  I once for a couple of minutes thought about living there after I finished playing.  Thanks to me, people know where your damn-ass city even is.

Grant: Well that's not exactly true.

Webber:  Damn straight it is.  Why are you calling me?  I have to go to a wardrobe check. 

Grant:  Look, I guess I might be a little sorry you felt--

Webber:  That's right. Start sucking up, Grant.  Like when you talk to Gavin and Joe.  Never heard you ask them a tough question.

Grant:  That's insulting.

Webber: Oh yeah, I forgot, you do berate your dumb-ass callers.  Getting all New Yawk on them.  Why does anybody listen to you?

Grant:  I happen to be the top-rated radio sports host in Sacramento.

Webber: You're the only radio sports host in Sacramento.

(long pause)

Grant: I like you Chris.

Webber: Call me Mr. Webber.

Grant: What?

Webber:  You got wax in your ears?

Grant:  This isn't fair.  I was only asking you a simple question and then you--

Webber: You tell those broke-ass owners they should be bowing down and thanking me.

Grant: Thanking you? 

Webber: When I talk, people listen. I'm C-Webb.  C-Webb carries a lot of juice.  C-Webb rules the roost.

Grant: Why are you talking about yourself in the third person?

Webber:  What third person, ass?  It's just me and you.  It's just C-Webb and you.  No third person. 

(long pause)

Grant: I'm done.

Webber:  Don't be angry, Grant.

Grant: This is unbelievable.

Webber: Tell the people of Sacramento I love them.

Grant: Go to hell.

(dial tone)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Five Downright Undeniable Truths About the Kings right now

Five things I know for sure right now about the Sacramento Kings:

1.  The Kings will never get to the playoffs with Tyreke Evans as their point guard.  Sorry, folks, just don't see it happening.  He's a fullback masquerading as a basketball player imitating a point guard.  And he has spurts of being spectacular, especially when his feet aren't aching.  But I just don't see him as the guy who's taking the team to the next level - not if he's the man running the offense.  I still think he's a great trade chip in a mega-trade for a great point guard, but I doubt the franchise has the guts to pull the trigger on a deal.

2. Funding the new arena by privatizing city parking lots is a stupendously bad idea.  Paul Clegg's blog tells the ugly truth.  Not sure why a simple $5 dollar surcharge on every ticket was ignored as a solution, but this parking fiasco will come back to bite KJ in the butt.

3. Geoff Petrie is an awful general manager and has been living off a few good deals and signings made a decade ago.  Sad but true.  Some awful decisions of late (trading for Salmons and signing Outlaw to name a couple) put him in the bottom rung of NBA brains.  He's become a non-entity around the league.  

4. DeMarcus Cousins is going to be a star and I've been impressed with his tenacity and hustle, but he's going to have spend a solid summer working on footwork and jump hooks in order to overcome his lack of jumping ability.  Cousins is consistently stuffed when trying to work inside because he has no clue about how to maneuver against more athletic big men.

5. It's more fun to root for likable players.  Rookie Isaiah Thomas may never be an elite player or even a starter, but his smile, verve, aggressiveness and poise make him a fan favorite.  And he passes the ball, too.  Selfish players are not easy to like, unless they are stone-cold superstars.  The Kings have too many stone-cold selfish stiffs.