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Maloofs' Role In Kings Relocation Saga: The Choice Is Theirs

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The Maloofs implied in statements and quotes on Friday that they will still make the decision on whether they will file to relocate the Sacramento Kings to Anaheim, with an application due May 2. This after the commissioner implied in comments that keeping the Kings in Sacramento for a year is an option. This after the NBA's representatives had a visit no one has reported as anything less than fantastic. This after the Los Angeles Times reported the Kings will be staying in Sacramento for at least another year, and no one denied it.

No one but the Maloofs.

The Maloofs said they haven't made a decision on whether to file for relocation. It's funny to the rest of the world simply because the Maloofs seem to be the only people on the planet who seem to think they can make this decision, as if after all this extra study David Stern is going to decide that while Sacramento looks viable, has an arena plan moving and $10 million in new sponsorship money ... sure, Maloofs. Go ahead and kill that market. Riiiiiiight.

The Maloofs do have a decision to make, but it's not the one they think. They have to make a decision of whether to embrace Sacramento's renewed passion for the Kings, or to continue to slap us in the face and create their own doom.

This situation like Goya's Quinta del Sordo -- the writing's all over the walls. Unless Mayor Kevin Johnson completely fabricated those sponsorship pulls and David Taylor does a heel turn this week and announces Sacramento is but a pit of despair, the Kings will be staying for another year. The Maloofs don't have the resources -- political, capital or in salesmanship skills -- to stop this train; only Sacramento can fumble the ball away. Remember when KJ said there's nothing we could do, that it was completely in the hands of Joe, Gavin and Fate? That fox had it flipped: one foot, four toes are stuck in that door, and only the NBA can let them escape.

So the Maloofs have a choice, starting tout de fuckin' suite: embrace the $10 million in new sponsorship money the mayor has dug up, embrace the incredible fan-driven passion surrounding the laundry and commit to make real, sincere effort in Sacramento. They have the power to save themselves by jumping off the U.S.S. Samueli and declaring they will work closely with civic leaders and the NBA to make the forthcoming Taylor-ICON plan a reality. They can re-commit to a community that has always been committed to them. They can show contrition for the bizarre beahvior and decisions they have made in the past few weeks (cheaping out on Fan Appreciation Night, letting Lakers fan friends have their seats for the final game, acting like eight-year-olds when Burkle stood up, continuing to reply in the most bratty fashion possible when asked about the saga). They can re-acquaint themselves with Sacramento and the diehard Kings fans who are very obviously paying full attention to their behavior and their words. They have a captive audience hanging on every syllable. The opportunity couldn't be any more obvious.

Or, they can remain holed up in Vegas, poking needles in a voodoo KJ's eyes and poking Sacramento with a sharp stick at every opportunity. They can ignore the chance for redemption, the chance to actually do what they claim to have wanted all along: make Sacramento feasible and profitable, with a new arena and the best fans in the world.

The Maloofs can stand right in front of the freight train hulking down the tracks, and if they want, they can let it knock them right out of the NBA. The choice is theirs, and they don't need to wait on the NBA. They can end this right now.

Will they?