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Marcos Breton: Blame it all on the Maloofs

Published: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Sep. 23, 2013 - 8:09 am

Whether the Kings ultimately move or stay, it's time that Sacramento embraces an undeniable truth: None of the turmoil surrounding the team is the fault of this community.

It's all on the owners, the Maloofs. It's their doing, their failures, their dysfunction and their unbelievable gall.

Mayor Kevin Johnson called their bluff Wednesday, saying he will try to find an ownership group to buy the team and keep it in town now that the Maloofs are clearly open to selling.

These guys have been looking for an obscene deal for years, and the one positive about Wednesday is they can't deny it any longer. The jig is up. So long, boys. It hasn't been nice knowing you.

If the Kings had committed owners, their old barn of a home would sell out nightly – as opposed to now. Can Mayor KJ find a group to offer a bid with an eye toward keeping the team in Sacramento?

Who knows?

At the very least, KJ can keep the heat on the Maloofs. And if he finds potential owners, he can put the heat on the NBA as well, by forcing an end to the tiresome state of limbo surrounding the team.

It's disgraceful that the league has allowed the Maloofs to mismanage the Kings for as long as they have through their absentee ownership. These guys all but commission signs that say "Go away, fans."

They're like some of the slumlords Sacramento has known: They cash their checks and look the other way; they smile with their mouths, not their eyes; and you can't find them to save your life.

And yet Sacramento keeps going to the games.

Having said all that, let's be honest: Money will drive the ending here. But at the very least, neither the Maloofs nor the NBA will be able to chase the money elsewhere without a stink following them.

"Sacramento has shown its mettle throughout this journey," said Sacramento City Councilman Jay Schenirer. "We have not given up, and so I believe we are not giving up now."

If a happy ending proves elusive, it would not be Sacramento's fault. Sacramento doesn't want the Kings to leave and never did. The city floated millions of dollars in loans to keep the team, and Johnson found sponsors and business opportunities that the owners couldn't find.

"This city deserves an NBA team," Johnson said Wednesday.

All roads lead back to the same reason the Kings are an ever-churning rumor mill of imminent departure, playing in a faded building for six straight losing seasons: The Maloofs are the worst owners in the NBA.

They don't have the money to run the team; they have blown their other businesses; and they have been on the hunt for an obscene deal to boost the bottom line of a once-thriving franchise.

Will Chris Hansen, the Seattle hedge-fund guy, do that for them?

Who knows?

Who cares?

All Sacramento can do now is support the team, loathe the owners, hope for the best – and know where the blame lies if the best doesn't come to pass.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Marcos Breton



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