When The NBA Realized That The Maloofs Were Being Ridiculous

April 26, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings owner George Maloof after the win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Power Balance Pavilion. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 113-96. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Apparently, the NBA knew back in late February that the Maloofs were being ridiculous with specific demands on a revised term sheet -- revisions demanded two days after George Maloof told the TV cameras that what we know as 'the deal' was 'fair.'

Ransacked Media is getting some deserved attention for publishing emails between George Maloof and the NBA from back on February 29. (The handshake deal came on February 27 in Orlando.) I'll let you connect the dotes on how Ransacked, an arena deal opponent, got the emails, but regardless, it's valuable information that I'm glad was published.

Because while it makes the Maloofs' case that the Kings immediately informed the NBA of the issues it had with the handshake term sheet, the emails make an even stronger case that the Maloofs knew right from the start that their absurd demands were out of line with NBA norms, and that they were focused on making the deal as untenable as possible to guarantee its doom.

Like when George told NBA lawyer Harvey Benjamin that the team wanted to amend the term sheet to eliminate collateral on a city refinancing of an existing Maloof loan. Benjamin's response on February 29 (some 12 minutes after George sent his note):

Regarding collateral, I thought you understood in Orlando that there's no way of avoiding the fact that the debt will come due when the team leaves Natomas and that the city will not refinance the debt without collateral. ... Also, the required amount of collateral will only be the amount equal to the debt, which is a big win since collateral value in excess of the debt is often required.

Benjamin instantly recognizes Maloof's angle, and instantly shuts it down completely. And remember, the NBA is representing the Maloofs' interests. It's worth noting that the Maloofs' current loan ($68 million, or thereabouts depending on recent payments) has a collateral of just $25 million. The Kings got a sweetheart loan in 1997, and they tried to push for an even sweeter deal this time. If only they didn't have a problem with defaulting on massive debt ...

Want some more? How about Maloof pushing back on game-day municipal expenses (like for cops, etc)? Benjamin's response:

Every team pays game day expenses. You pay them now.

On the Maloofs' wish for a lease shorter than the 30 years for which the city would be paying for the arena:

As we told you in Orlando, a team commitment for the life of the lease in a new building funded in large part by public money is totally standard.

Basically, add it all up and the Maloofs are looking for the best arena deal in the history of the NBA (which is saying something). The NBA is pushing back immediately. THE NBA was immediately telling the Maloofs that their arena demands were out of line! This is the same NBA whose arena model is essentially the institutionalized menace of threatened relocation.

And when the NBA quickly made it clear to the Maloofs that these were not sticking points but ridiculous demands in Benjamin's immediate response (excerpted above), what did George do? He doubled down. He kept plugging. He leaked the story to the L.A. Times. He had that ridiculous press conference in New York. He vilified KJ and the city, and to some extent the NBA.

I know what case the Maloofs are trying to make by leaking these emails -- that their concerns were made before the City Council approved the term sheet, that despite holding hands with KJ and crying for the TV crews that they had concerns with the deal. Point made. Assertion accepted.

In the process, they have shown just how absurd their position on myriad basic issues was, and have proven once again that they had no interest in legitimately getting a deal for a new Sacramento arena done. This is unassailable proof straight from George's own fingertips. Good job, guys.

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