One kink in Sacramento arena plan: $85 million from Maloofs

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There is a real momentum in Sacramento to get a deal done and get an arena built — one that appears ready to clear the final hurdles. The Kings would stay in Sacramento.

But if one thing were to derail that train, it could be the brothers who helped create the problem in the first place — the Maloof brothers. The owners of the Kings.

They have said in the past they would pitch in to help get a new arena built, but they have not been part of these arena negotiations (the NBA has handled that directly). Now it is coming time to write a check, reports the Sacramento Bee.

The city seeks a contribution of about $85 million from the Maloof family, which owns the Kings, multiple sources said. But it’s not clear if the NBA – which is negotiating on the team’s behalf – will agree, and negotiations are far from complete.

Why is that a cause for concern? Well, Tom Ziller at SBNation explains it well.

The Maloofs already owe the city roughly $70 million for a loan executed in the late 1990s when the Kings had threatened to leave Sacramento under previous ownership. The Maloofs are also believed to owe at least $100 million to the league’s credit facility. For the second consecutive season, the Kings have the NBA’s smallest payroll. Sacramento barely exceeded the league’s minimum payroll level last year.

In the last couple years the Maloof have sold off their beer distributorship that was very profitable and given up majority control in the Palms Casino that they built in Las Vegas.

The city of Sacramento, arena operator AEG and everyone else is ready to pitch in and do their parts. Given one last chance to get an arena done and keep the Kings in Sacramento, the city has rallied behind mayor Kevin Johnson and done a tremendous job.

Let’s hope it’s not the Maloofs that end that dream.