Tag: NBA to Anaheim

David Stern

David Stern says ball in Sacramento’s court now

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Put up or shut up.

David Stern is too much the diplomat to put it like that, but it was the gist of his comments in a Monday conference call discussing the decision by the Maloof brothers not to seek relocation from Sacramento to Anaheim.

Couching everything in words of praise for Sacramento fans and their outpouring of support, and for Mayor Kevin Johnson’s plan and energy, Stern echoed what the Maloof brothers said earlier in the day — if there is not a stadium deal well along the road to done by next March 1, the Kings will be free to leave.

And that could be back to Anaheim: “I think that Anaheim is in the future of the NBA,” Stern said.

Sacramento, your move.

Stern added that as of right now nobody really knows how this new stadium will be financed. So, there’s that little detail. In an interview with reporters earlier in the day George Maloof sounded like they would not be putting up cash into any plan. Getting any public money will be nearly impossible.

The NBA is going to play fair — they are sending a team of nine people from the NBA offices to work “in every aspect” of the Kings business, including sponsorships, ticket sales and media relations.

The reason is likely to mend relationships, according to Tom Ziller of SB Nation’s Sactown Royalty. Right now, there is not a lot of trust or love between the Maloofs and the city they tried to ditch. Fans have questions about if the Maloofs have enough money to be viable NBA owners — Stern said they do — and their commitment to making this work. The Maloofs told Stern they would try. Even so the NBA sends in people to make sure this gets a fair shake.

Two other interesting comments from Stern.

One came when he asked what was different about Sacramento than Seattle, another failed mid-sized market that could not keep an NBA team.

Stern talked about “hostility” from the Seattle mayor and a lack of the state legislature to help out in any way. With Sacramento both the mayor and local state senator are leading the charge to keep the team.

“Night and day,” Stern said.

Secondly, he had to tie the collective bargaining agreement into the Kings plans.

Stern said that an agreement needs to be in place with the players that allows a market like Sacramento to be competitive. Which they were a decade ago under this basic economic agreement, but whatever, we get the idea. But his point about fairness ties back to revenue sharing as well — if the Kings are making $11 million a year on their local television deal and the Lakers near $200 million, then without revenue sharing (teams currently do not share local television dollars) then everything else basically will be moot.

CSN Report: Kings to stay in Sacramento

Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings
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Monday both the NBA and the Maloof brothers will announced that the Kings will remain in Sacramento for another season, CSN California reports.

A source close to the discussions tells Comcast SportsNet that the NBA has told the Maloofs to expect the Kings to stay in Sacramento next year.

The NBA is expected to put out a press release on Monday and the Maloofs will follow with a release of their own, but an NBA press conference is not expected. The source also said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is expected to hold a press conference on Monday.

Expect the Maloofs (the owners of the Kings) to come out at their press conference talking about how they love Sacramento and never wanted to leave, how they want to make it work. Nobody in Sacramento will buy it. That family has a lot of work to do to repair their reputation in Sacramento

The Maloofs had planned to move their team to Anaheim starting next season. They had negotiated a lease agreement for the Honda Center and set up a personal loan from billionaire Henry Samueli, who operates the center. Even plans for a television deal had been set up. It seemed a month ago that this move could not be stopped.

But in the end staying seemed to be only option the Maloof brothers had. After Johnson spoke to the NBA owners — the Board of Governors — and talked about $10 million in new sponsorships and plans for a new building starting to take shape, other owners sounded like they were willing to give Sacramento one more chance.

It became clear in the past week or so the Maloof brothers did not have the majority vote of owners that would be required to approve the move. There became more and more of a feeling that this move was about the Maloof families personal financial issues — the Palms cansino, like all of Las Vegas, has been hard hit by the economy, and the brothers have taken on a lot of debt — than it was about the team.

Sacramento gets one more year. But if efforts for a new stadium do not take huge leaps in the next year, if money is not lined up to build it, the Kings will be gone next summer.

But for now, the Kings stay.

Kings fans not going down without a fight to keep team

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The Kings move to Anaheim for next season is almost certain. There are details to be hammered out, approvals needed, but there is a lot of momentum.

But the fans of Sacramento are not giving up.

Through a twitter campaign — #herewebuild — started by local sports radio show host Carmichael Dave there are about half a million in pledges from local fans and businesses to keep the Kings in town and build a new stadium. That may be a drop in the bucket of money — the Kings are getting a $50 million loan from Anaheim and $25 million in refurbishments to the Honda Center — but that’s not what the movement was really about at its core.

Carmichael Dave spoke with Aaron Bruski at Rotoworld about the effort.

The goal was to fix the tenor of the conversation here locally in Sacramento, which was extremely negative, with the towel pretty much thrown in not just by our city council but by our mayor himself in many senses. A lot of negative publicity has turned over the last three, four, five days into positive publicity. We’ve been on the front page of the Sacramento Bee, we’ve been on every TV station here in town, numerous blogs, the New York Times, and with you guys – and instead of the focus being ‘the Kings are leaving, the Maloofs and the city council are fighting, and Sacramento’s going to be without a team in two weeks,’ it’s now turned to ‘well that still all may very well happen, but in the meantime the fans are speaking up and they’re putting their money where their mouths are and trying to make a difference.’

It’s a Hail Mary pass, it’s the bottom of the ninth, it’s the 15th round – whatever sports analogy you want to use. But we’re going down with a fight, which is a lot more different than things were going just a few days ago


Today there is a rally at City Hall as the HereWeBuild people try to shake up the powers that be and mayor Kevin Johnson (the former Suns player). That’s a step. Turning those steps into something concrete is the next goal.

Now we have all these pledges out there but its Monopoly money, it’s not real. It’s pledges, just like any telethon, but we haven’t cashed them – and that’s gotten us a lot of good PR. The next step is to turn that into actual dollars, so what I need, and my thing from the get-go, from day one, is that we won’t collect a dollar of pledges until we have assurances that all laws are being followed, that everybody is protected, and that the goals of the movement are spelled out ad nausea, and let’s face it – we’re realists here. We know that the odds are against this thing being successful, so there’s more than a decent chance that every penny is going to have to be returned. And if the people of Sacramento and the surrounding regions that are Kings fans, when they are losing their homes and losing their jobs, and they’re still willing to dig into their piggy banks and to donate whatever they can – I need to give them assurances.

It’s a bit of a lost cause, but those can be the most noble.

The people of Sacramento will not just role over, they are trying and fighting back. Whether the battle is lost or not. Which speaks to why these fans should not be losing their team in the first place.

Kings’ relocation: Follow the television money to Anaheim

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Lakers

That lease deal the city of Anaheim approved and is now awaiting a Maloof signature is not a great one for the Kings. Not really close. They take on more debt — a $50 million loan — and don’t get all the luxury box money, and just a percentage of concessions, parking and other incomes. Nobody should be calling it a sweet deal.

So how does it pencil out for the Kings?

Television money. As Sam Amick explained at his NBA Confidential (in a follow up to his exhaustive piece for ESPN), the television market is what changes everything.

Currently the Kings make $11 million a year from Comcast, Amick reports (the first time we have heard a figure).

In the Southern California market, they will likely at least triple that. Or quadruple it (which is what people around the Kings have hinted). Or more.

The Lakers just signed a 20-year deal with a soon-to-be-launched new cable sports network that the team swears is not going to pay them the reported $150 million a year everybody keeps hearing. But you can bet it’s in that ballpark. Although it may be 10 percent less at if the Kings move to town. So only $135 million a year.

Now they are the Lakers, the kings of all sports media in Los Angeles. They are story one, two and three in a city without an NFL team. The Kings are not going to get near that. But a third of that?

Fox Sports West needs someone to replace the Lakers on their schedule. There is an opening. Television ratings will come if they are successful. That is the key in Orange County and the Southern California (for attendance as well).

An extra $20-$30 million a year covers a lot of problems for the Maloof brothers. As always, it’s about the money. This time, it’s just television money more than just stadium money.

Sacramento tells Anaheim to back off, Maloofs get ticked

George Maloof, Gavin Maloof, Joe Maloof

As always, it’s about the money. It’s always about the money.

The latest noise in the seemingly inevitable move of the Kings out of Sacramento to Anaheim is that the Sacramento City Manager sent a letter, vaguely threatening legal action, if Anaheim did not back off its efforts to lure the Kings.

The Sacramento Bee had the story.

In a terse letter Monday to Anaheim officials, Assistant City Manager John Dangberg said Anaheim was ignoring the “blighting impacts” that luring the Kings from Sacramento would have on the capital city. The move would cause “irreparable harm,” the letter said.

If, however, Anaheim “insists on continuing the negotiations,” the letter said, that city must require the team to honor its debt to Sacramento.

That debt is a $77 million loan the city gave the Kings in 1996.

The letter was as much a public relations stunt as anything — yet the Maloof brothers (who own the Kings) reacted angrily.

Here is what Joe Maloof said:

“It’s not for the mayor or anybody (in the City of Sacramento) to interfere with our business. That’s what I think they’re doing, and it’s not right,” Maloof told The Orange County Register. “We would appreciate that they not interfere with our business.”

Here is George Maloof to the Sacramento Bee.

“It is interfering with our business,” he said. “We’re going to take every measure possible to protect ourselves. We have no intention of leaving that town without paying our debt. For someone to imply that we are not going to pay our debts, it’s wrong, it’s ridiculous.”

First a word of advice to the Maloofs: Shut up. Do not say another public word until you are on a podium in Anaheim and then only speak glowingly of Sacramento. You can be frustrated with the city and the inability to get a new stadium there, but don’t open your mouths and sound bitter. You are screwing fans in a small market to move to a big one, you cannot win the PR game. You are going to look bad here, whether your reasons for moving are legitimate or not. Whether it works in Anaheim or not. You are moving from Northern California to Southern California and those to markets already don’t like each other. Just don’t aggravate the situation.

Really, for Sacramento this is about the money. They want their $77 million back. If you default on the loan the city gets a $25 million stake in a team (estimated to be worth $293 million by Forbes). A share the city doesn’t want and would be forced to sell, maybe taking more of a loss.

Sacramento had financial reasons to defend itself here, to send off the letter. Much of it was bluster and PR — playing to their audience of pissed off fans who feel their civic pride being attacked — but the financial concerns are real because defaulting on the loan makes financial sense to the Maloofs. They get a $50 million or so swing by defaulting on the loan. So Sacramento’s concern here is legitimate.

The least you can do is pay that loan off to the city on your way out the door. Even if you have to borrow money from a billionaire in another city to do it.