"We had a framework (in Orlando), but we never had a deal" - George Maloof
Who had under a month? Who predicted that less than a month after having the cajones to walk out onto the basketball court with ‘My Hero' playing, the Mafools would cut their good-guy act and revert to form? If these guys are heroes, Sacramento doesn't need enemies.
The time has come for the city to put an end to this nonsense and inform the NBA it is time to choose: Sacramento or the Mafools. That is basically the message the Mafools are taking the NBA board of governors this weekend by asking permission to reopen a finalized negotiation. We should not just sit back and wait passively in judgment. Sacramento should make clear to the league that this is exactly what must happen after the Mafool's have once again proven themselves to be difficult and unreliable partners; and that the obvious choice is Sacramento.
At this point, the Mafool's many missteps have been widely categorized, but we should remember that even their one supposed success - turning the Kings into contenders - was inherited. When the major pieces of the Kings golden years were added - Webber, Divac, Peja and Williams (who would become Bibby) - Jim Thomas was the owner. The Mafools may have claimed the glory, but they were not the ones who executed a plan to acquire championship-level talent. The years between have given little hope they have any clue how to replicate that one-time success. So add bad owners to the score-sheet next to bad at business, cash-strapped and difficult to work with.
The Mafools are a perfect example of people born on third base who act like they've hit a triple. Their failure to ever score the run despite this advantage has been Sacramento's problem for long enough.
After striking a deal to build an arena, the last thing the NBA wants is to have that deal blow up in a very public way. Mayor Johnson needs to makes it clear that should the league choose the Mafools over Sacramento, we would pursue any & every action available to us, during the course of which the Mafools' name would be absolutely dragged through the mud. It would be a potential PR nightmare for not just the Mafools, but also the league who backed them over us. Even if the Mafools were able to move the team, general distaste with team owners and weak ticket sales would be the likely best-case scenario if things got ugly. The league would have a powerful incentive to avoid this and find a better solution.
It's not like the league doesn't have options. There is billionaire Ron Burkle of course, and The Bee has hinted there might be others. Additionally, the city could compile a plan for public ownership similar to that of the Green Bay Packers in the NFL. Having a publicly owned team would put Sacramento on the map in a way that an arena never could; and would ensure the Kings remain in Sacramento far beyond the life of any arena. Of course this would be a moon-shot, even if it could be proved to be beneficial to the league as a whole, but its inclusion would make it clear to the NBA just how serious Sacramento is about keeping the team...minus the Mafools.
Ultimately, for the city to succeed Sacramento must stress to the NBA that we're taking this action not because the Mafools are bad owners - even though they are - but because they are bad at business and untrustworthy partners. That is an argument capable of gaining traction with the league & team owners; allaying somewhat fears of setting a precedent which could haunt them in the future. They still might not side with us, but Sacramento needs to draw a line in the sand somewhere, and demanding trustworthy partners in a deal which will make or break the city seems like a good place to do so.
Sacramento was challenged to finance a new arena and we did. Yet less than a month later, the same owners who gave up on our city and tried (not threatened to, tried) to move our team are squeezing us once again. So now it is time for Sacramento to assert itself in this process, and by demanding the NBA choose - us or them - we are saying loud and clear that we will suffer these Mafools no longer.