In longtime Bay Area sportswriter Ray Ratto's column on the Sacramento Kings, the entire arena situation is broken down into a series of whizbang Confucian morals. Needless to say, Ratto botches some of the key issues with the way the situation has devolved. Some storylines are just too complex to translate into catchphrases.
One item in the column that really stuck out:
In the meantime, people in the city want the Maloofs out, as in appealing to Stern to strip the Maloofs of their team, which is an idea so idiotic that its proponents should be locked in dumpsters.
The Maloofs have perennially low payroll, one of the worst records in the league over recent years, and have just turned down an arena deal filled with more concessions than a stadium concourse. David Stern liked the deal. He liked it so much that to sweeten the deal when the Maloofs brought up issues, the commissioner turned $7 million of the league's massive loan to the family into a gift!
There is no chance the Maloofs would be approved as NBA owners in their current state. They'd get laughed out of the board room. They make Alex Meruelo look like Mikhail Prokhorov. They are broke, despite their assertions to the contrary, as every single public action points like a neon arrow to that reality. It's not an issue of the Maloofs not wanting to show us the money. They can't show us the money. How is that not a serious problem for a pro sports owner? How would it be "idiotic" for Sacramento to push the NBA to give us a tenable ownership group? We're not asking for a billionaire (though that'd be nice, and we have one lined up). We're asking for someone who doesn't flirt with the minimum payroll every year. Someone who can afford to spend the NBA's money.
I think this is more Ratto wanting to turn his poisoned barrel at all sides more than an actual position he holds. I especially think that because a column from last June on the Dodgers' bankruptcy showed Ratto wishing for a tighter leash on ownership debt. What's smart in one league is idiotic in another, eh?