A lot of deadlines being thrown around, trade deadline, relocation filing deadline, extension to file for relocation deadline, Taylor/ICON plan due deadline, and on and on.
What's the bottom line here?Well, it's the bottom line.
I try to be, if nothing else, objective. I don't know if I always succeed at it, but when your nature is not that of a joiner, I suspect that helps. I get tagged as a pessimist a great deal, and that is not a charge I will deny completely. I strive to be a realist. Reality is a kick in the balls a lot of the time.
I heartily encourage the moderators to dump this post, if you feel it needs to be dumped. But these are my thoughts on the situation, and I've decided to put them down.
The situation we have here, the issue that keeps many a fan's guts churning with ulcer juice, is that the owners of the team may take them to Anaheim. Or someplace else. The someplace else is completely beside the point. Anyplace else would be devastating.
The situation is that, if a plan cannot be agreed on to spend a lot of money on what the owners want, the team will be taken to another location. The team will not be returning.
The expression I would use is "hostage situation."
"Oh, that's different," you say. "When someone takes hostages, they threaten to do something to the people they've gained control over, and make demands of people who care whether or not something happens to the hostages."
"Do go on," I say.
"Hostage takers only want money or some political thing, and don't care who gets hurt in the process of getting what they want!"
"They send ransom notes!"
"Or press releases and tweets, absolutely. And?"
"Sometimes it's just a group trying to raise their prestige level on an international stage, and going to awful lengths to do so."
"Uh-huh. Anything else?"
"... No. Shutup. Ass."
Current ownership didn't invent this tactic. Hell, we wouldn't have ever had a team in Sacramento if not for this sort of thing. That irony should not be lost on any of us. I don't know enough about the franchise's former situations to state whether or not they had solid justification for the earlier moves. They may have, given the NBA's third-rate drawing power until the 1980s.
The owners have the right to make as much money as they can with their asset. This is America, and say what you will, I'm not opposed to free enterprise.
The timing on this is what galls me. The Maloofs had a highly profitable franchise when they had a high payroll, a very competitive team, and the economy was better. The people of Sacramento made it possible for the family to build not one, but two high-rise towers above their casino in Las Vegas. That's where your ticket/parking/concession/merch dollars have gone.
In the meantime, payroll spending here has flagged over the past several years, ticket prices and attendance stayed high for the first half of that period, and all the while, oblique threats and demands from ownership about the status of "this awful building" trickled into the newspaper, or radio stations.
In 2006, the demands got louder. The county, in response to the hostage-note-du-jour, listened to the family, and put ballot propositions before residents based on what the Maloofs had asked for. The propositions were flawed to a certain degree, but they were constructed on the basis of what the Maloofs insisted was necessary for them to compete in the NBA, i.e., get richer.
In that deal, the county would pay 74% of the estimated $542 million dollar cost, and be responsible for any overruns. Upset with parking, the size of the site, and on not having 100% control on the retail and housing aspect of the project, Joe called The Bee around the 13th of September.
"There are no more negotiations; we've already discussed all the issues. They know what we need. We've told them."
The only way this language could be more ominous is if it had been sent as a note made out of a cut-up magazine.
The ballot measures, already on shaky ground because of its lopsided nature, were now dead in the water seven weeks before the election.
My issue with the Maloofs is that they are children. Their father made the family wealthy, and that tends to give the children the impression that they've made something of themselves. As of yet, they have not. The Palms was their chance to make their mark, and to a large degree, it worked. Then they overreached, built another tower and a $40 million dollar swimming pool, and the dice have come up snake eyes.
They are children because they will not look the fan in the eye, and be honest. "This is about money. You used to have it, but you don't anymore. You don't have to love us, but you will be poorer than us, because we're chasing the money, and we possess a thing that others want."
They are children, because they want things both ways. They want to be loved, and thought of as good guys. They crave acceptance and approval, to a degree you just don't often see past adolescence. It shows itself in a lot of ways, and you hardly need to be a psychologist to see it.
But they also want the money. Well, more money, because they already have a lot.
Guess which impulse is going to win? No matter how it plays, the brothers will pussy foot around, and try to pretend that either way, they just wanted what was best. It's simply money here, or money down south. I just wish they'd man up about it.
As for me, I will not, in addition to the stress of this fiasco, be afflicted with Stockholm Syndrome. I will not begin to relate to the hostage-takers, and start seeing the world through their eyes.
If it goes badly, the Maloofs will make the decision to move because it's exactly what they have consciously decided to do. They are stringing an entire community on because they are hoping someone will step up and meet their demands. I think the area needs a new complex, whether the Kings are here or not. The Maloofs are not pillars of the community, they are carpetbaggers who have bought some respectability by throwing some money around and doing some good with it. They don't give a damn about Sacramento, they're here because the thing they bought was brought here by some other dope in 1985, who didn't have enough sense to just go all the way to Orange County.
I want a new building. I'd like for the Kings to play all of their home games in it, as well as maybe see U2, some NCAA tournament games, and Lougainis On Ice. In this case, what's good for the Maloofs is also good for the community.
The Maloofs can afford to not decapitate the hostage on the internet, they truly can. Even if the NBA Board of Governors approves the move, that doesn't mean it has to happen.
We're going to learn a great deal about the Maloofs in the next couple of months. No one will be more thrilled to be wrong than me. But know this: Stay or go, it was never about anything except the money.