LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 13: Palms Casino Resort President George Maloof watches a preseason game between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Thomas & Mack Center October 13 2010 in Las Vegas Nevada. The Lakers won 98-95. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this Photograph user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
There's no other way to put it.
Back in February, George Maloof was among the dozen or so celebrating in Orlando at the realization of a decade's worth of work: a deal to build a state-of-the-art arena in downtown Sacramento. George wasn't teary-eyed like brother Gavin or as beaming as Kevin Johnson, but he was there, and he was quoted.
"I think it is a fair deal," he said. "We gave a lot. Everybody had to give. Sometimes you have to take chances, and we think this is worth taking."
That wasn't even six weeks ago, and now we get this.
Speaking to the Bee Monday, team co-owner George Maloof said his goal in New York is to put the project "right back on track and start negotiating this thing again."
I think David Stern is going to toss some ice in George's bath. Sacramento isn't playing this game -- the refusal by city officials and the mayor to even acknowledge any possibility of opening this box back up is glorious -- and I'm pretty convinced that Stern is in a similar position. George also claims that the other NBA owners have a lot of respect for the Maloofs. They aren't blind. They know that the Maloof empire has peaked, they can smell desperation and something tells me that George and the clan will have trouble convincing enough owners to peel off of Stern's side to support their refusal to acknowledge that they made a deal, a fair deal, a deal that commits Sacramento to building a new arena by 2015 using some of the most creative financing pro sports has ever seen.
This thing is not getting negotiated again. Either Stern tells the Maloofs to (ahem) pony up or GTFO, or the owners let the Maloofs kill the deal. I don't see a whole lot of middle path here.
Here's the weird part: this might end up being the best twist yet for Kings fans, because there's a chance that it speeds up the Maloofs' long anticipated exit from NBA ownership. Many have expected that if a deal was brokered in Sacramento, the Maloofs -- who want riches, not a solid deal with solid profits, but huge, Jerry Buss deals -- would peace on outta here. I don't think anyone expected the timeline to accelerate like this.