It was Friday the 13th, so maybe that explains the bizarre horror show of a gathering at a hotel in midtown Manhattan.
In a shock of a New York minute and that's how fast this partnership seems to have dissolved the parties involved in financing Sacramento's proposed sports and entertainment complex went their separate ways.
This was a quickie divorce with all the accompanying pain and suffering.
There was no winner here, no winner back there.
NBA Commissioner David Stern spent years overseeing Sacramento arena proposals and trying to cobble together an effective coalition. He persisted despite setback after setback. After the Kings almost relocated to Anaheim a year ago, he sent out an entire marketing team to kick-start ticket sales and rebuild a depleted business operations department.
Most recently, he squeezed a larger contribution out of AEG and increased the NBA's contribution to the $391 million project.
He thought an agreement had been reached in principle, a final accord within grasp. Instead, on Friday, and only minutes after introducing the new majority owner of the New Orleans Hornets, he finally threw up his hands and tossed it back to the Maloofs.
Mayor Kevin Johnson, the native Sacramentan and former NBA All-Star, referenced the need for a new arena repeatedly during his campaign. Creating jobs and attracting businesses to the urban center: That was part of his pitch. That was the plan.
His celebrity and his connections galvanized the business community and helped convince the NBA's other owners to back a one-year hiatus for the Kings, giving Sacramento one more chance.
And the fans. Can't forget the fans. Is there another roller coaster left to ride? What emotion haven't the locals experienced these past several years? Fans have been threatened with relocation, subjected to a lousy product, and, for a while there, charged ridiculously inflated ticket prices.
Then, just when the city appeared on the verge of a spectacular urban transformation, anchored by an arena for the Kings, for concerts and perhaps for Winter Olympics events, Sacramento's big dig became just another big tease.
Think Kings fans feel like winners?
No chance. This is Robert Horry all over again.
And what about the Maloofs? What about the Maloofs? They wanted to leave. Then they wanted to stay. Then they wanted a deal. Then they liked the tentative deal. Then they didn't like the tentative deal.
Anyone with a memory has to remember last year's flirtation with Anaheim and has to wonder if relocation isn't part of a much larger plot. You know? Kill the railyard deal and sprint for the Honda Center?
The Maloofs clearly had issues with the railyard proposal, particularly pertaining to projected revenue streams. They also have become increasingly uncomfortable with the notion of being a major tenant (Anaheim, railyard deal) instead of being an owner/operator of a facility (Power Balance Pavilion). Some local sources are even theorizing that the Maloofs' preference is to stay put and refurbish Power Balance Pavilion, partly because the league's increased revenue sharing eases their financial burden.
But after the scene in New York? The abrupt and unseemly manner in which they didn't do the deal? Seriously?
Stern can scream and cajole and persuade the other owners to oppose a relocation, which he did. He can coordinate arena efforts that reached the highest levels of Sacramento politics, which he did. He can entice powerful AEG into the partnership, which he did. And he can offer loans and guarantees and make the most recent proposal more appealing to the Kings co-owners, which he did.
But he can't force the Maloofs to sell. And they're not selling. And, obviously, they're not buying the railyard concept, either.
"You can call it (the agreement) anything you want," the commissioner said during a televised news conference, carefully choosing his words. "And I think it's fair for the Maloofs to say they don't want to do it. If they had done that a little simpler, a little earlier and a little more directly, it could have saved a lot of angst and trouble."
Not on Friday.