With the latest stadium deal now dead in Sacramento, it doesn’t take much to get people in certain other markets dreaming of the NBA in their home town. Pictures of DeMarcus Cousins dominating in the paint and Tyreke Evans getting treatment for plantar fasciitis in their city fill the minds of young children with NBA dreams.
Along those lines, interesting article in the Orange Country Register Monday connecting the dots between the Sacramento Kings owners, Joe and Gavin Maloof, and the Honda Center in Anaheim. Or the HP Pavilion in San Jose.
The relocation rumors revved up again Friday when Bloomberg News Service reported that two private investment firms are negotiating to acquire a controlling interest in the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, also owned by the Maloofs, after the family violated its loan covenants.
If the Maloofs are having significant financial problems — the Sacramento Bee reports that in 2009 the family sold its original beer distributorship in New Mexico for more than $100 million and that there also were staff layoffs in the Kings organization and at The Palms — then perhaps there is a greater sense of urgency to move the franchise to a market with better demographics, more potential corporate sponsors and an NBA-ready arena.
That’s where Anaheim comes in. If the Maloofs decide to move the Kings — or are forced to sell a team struggling on the court (NBA-worst 8-25 record) and struggling at the gate (29th out of 30 in home attendance) — Anaheim and San Jose are believed to be the most likely destinations because they both have NBA-quality arenas and waiting billionaires to help them overcome financial obstacles.
In Anaheim that is Henry Samueli, the owner of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks and the guy booking the Honda Center. He is one of the co-founders of Broadcom and while his net worth has taken a tumble in this economy he is still worth an estimated $1.7 billion according to Forbes. Which wouldn’t suck.
Samueli has said he would love an NBA team in the building. He helps the Maloofs out financially with a partial ownership stake, they get a good arena deal at the Honda Center and… there are some dots.
We’re a long way from being able to connect all of them. The financial situation of the Maloofs may be overstated, for one. Times are not good in Vegas but we don’t know the details. More importantly, at least publicly the Maloofs are not trying to move out of Sacramento.
But if the time comes — and it might — those dots might start to fill in.