Marcos Breton: Maloofs couldn't afford Sacramento arena deal

Published: Wednesday, Apr. 18, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Thursday, Apr. 18, 2013 - 7:45 pm

It's all a smoke screen to cover up the fact that they can't make a deal because they don't have the money.

That's why the Maloof brothers, owners of the Kings, are paying an economist, lawyers, media flacks and other hangers-on to trash Sacramento.

They are saying Sacramento can't afford a downtown arena, when in truth the Maloofs can't afford it.

They are saying a downtown arena wouldn't be good for Sacramento, when in truth it wouldn't be good for the Maloofs.

And you know what? It wouldn't. These guys should have said that loudly months ago instead of participating in a charade bound to fail because they don't have the money.

Why didn't they save us all the trouble?

Why did they lock arms with Mayor Kevin Johnson on the floor of the former Arco Arena to celebrate arena victory? Why did Gavin Maloof cry with joy over the "framework" of a deal that never would have worked for the Maloofs?

This is why KJ is killing the Maloofs in a media war and why they are getting crushed from coast to coast.

The Maloofs would have had to take a $67 million loan from the NBA to make a Sacramento arena deal happen – money NBA Commissioner David Stern was ready to pay.

The Kings already owe the city about that much and the franchise also is said to owe the NBA anywhere from $75 million to $100 million or more.

Adding $67 million in Stern charity would have pushed the Kings debt to around $200 million.

The Maloofs own only a bit more than 50 percent of the Kings. Forbes magazine values the team at around $300 million.

You do the math: The Maloofs' share of the Kings is worth roughly $150 million and they would have had to take on $200 million to play ball with Sacramento.

That's called being underwater, folks.

Truly upright people would have come clean honorably a long time ago instead blowing it all up at the 11th hour and blaming Sacramento.

Why did it take so long? Did Mama Maloof finally tell these guys to look at their finances and hire an antitrust lawyer to make sure KJ and Stern weren't conspiring to restrict their ability to run their team? A lawyer is always the last refuge for such people.

It's no wonder the NBA treated the Maloofs like children too young to sit at the big boys' table for a year of arena negotiations that blew up last week. No wonder a heavy hitter like Tim Leiweke – top guy at AEG, the global arena operator – could barely conceal his contempt for the Maloofs when he came to Sacramento to say he wanted an arena deal.

Ah, those Maloofs!

They don't have much going for them except the American axiom of possession being nine-tenths of the law.

They own the Kings and that's it.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Marcos Breton



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