This week, another team of NBA officials showed up in Sacramento, to meet with Mayor Kevin Johnson and the sponsors he lined up to generate another $9 million in sponsorships if the Kings stay in town.
Basically, the NBA is saying, “show us the money.” This isn’t a pledge drive, the NBA wants to see the cash.
Which is valid and within their rights. But as Tom Ziller notes at Sactown Royalty, it raises an interesting question.
Well, it’d be well within the NBA’s right if the NBA ran the Sacramento Kings. Which begs the question: is the NBA running the Sacramento Kings?
Note the continued absence of the Maloof family in all of this… But collecting local sponsor money is usually a task left for the team. In fact, I cannot think of any instance in which the NBA would collect local sponsor money for a team that doesn’t deal with an NBA takeover of a team (hello, New Orleans) and a situation where the local owners have become so poisonous that the NBA would rather take the time and bear the expense to basically do the owners’ job for them.
What has become maybe the most disconcerting part of this entire disconcerting process is how removed from the reality of the situation the Maloof brothers have become. They are still talking about filing for relocation, when it is becoming more clear by the day they do not have the votes to get approval for a move. While there has been a real passion and commitment from fans to keep the Kings in Sacramento — while the business community and mayor have stepped up — they have seemed at best disinterested and at most annoyed. Like they expected a rubber stamp to move the franchise to Anaheim and when that hasn’t come they don’t know what to do.
They could get behind the mayor, tell the fans they will give it an honest chance and champion plans for a new building in downtown Sacramento. But they’re not.
And there are real questions whether the people of Sacramento would accept that, whether they trust them or not. The fact the NBA sent in an outside team to collect the new sponsorship money tells you all you need to know about where the Maloofs stand with Sacramento. That the other owners may well not back a move tells you all you need to know about their standing with other owners.
They seem unwilling to sell the franchise, but there are questions about how effective an owner they can be after they may have poisoned the well in Sacramento.