When asked about having spoken to a Las Vegas group trying to get an arena built last week, Joe Maloof said he didn’t know anything about it.
Maybe not, but the Maloof brothers and owners of the Sacramento Kings are apparently keeping their options open about whether the team stays in Sacramento.
The Maloofs met with a former minority owner of the Seattle Sonics recently, according to a report in Sports Illustrated.
While sources indicate the Kings were exploring whether Seattle was a viable option to which they could move their franchise, George Maloof, who attended the meeting that took place about a month ago, said it was only an exploratory meeting to discern exactly what the Sonics went through in their failed pursuit of an arena.
“One of our minority partners asked us if we were ever in Seattle to meet with folks in Seattle to see what they went through,” Maloof told SI.com from Las Vegas. “It had nothing to do with us moving the team. It was more of a meeting to understand what their experience was as it relates to what we could do in Sacramento because it’s very difficult to build arenas anywhere. That was basically the meeting.”
However, sources said the Maloofs, frustrated by the hurdles they are facing in getting a publicly funded arena in a bankrupt state with a worsening economy, are exploring their options for moving the team.
Seattle is not going to happen, at least not soon. If getting an arena built there was easily doable it would have been done before the Sonics left town.
Las Vegas faces almost as many political hurdles, as the plan there calls for use of tax increment to help finance the deal. Convincing city fathers and mothers to find a use of tax dollars to help build an arena is a difficult task, at best. The Maloofs are actually farther down the line in Sacramento than anywhere.
But they are apparently keeping their options open.