SBD/Issue 211/Franchises

Maloofs Reportedly Eyeing Options Amid Kings Arena Struggles

Maloof Says His Family Is
Not Interested In Selling Kings

NBA Kings Owners 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,” according to sources cited by Frank Hughes of SI.com. Sources said that the team’s ownership about a month ago met with former Sonics Minority Owner and President Wally Walker, and they claimed that the Kings were “exploring whether Seattle was a viable option to which they could move their franchise.” The sources said that Kings co-Owner George Maloof "came away from the meeting in Seattle understanding that it would be as hard, if not more difficult, getting an arena built in Seattle as it is in Sacramento and quickly rejected the notion of moving there." Walker “confirmed the meeting but declined to give details, saying it was a private matter.” Maloof said that it was “only an exploratory meeting to discern exactly what the Sonics went through in their failed pursuit of an arena.” Maloof: “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. It had nothing to do with us moving the team.” Hughes noted two other options for the Kings to relocate to are Las Vegas, where the Maloofs own the Palms hotel and casino, and Anaheim, where the team could share Honda Center with the Ducks. Las Vegas is “less likely because, like Seattle and Sacramento, it also does not have an arena that creates enough revenue streams.” Maloof was asked why his family would not “move to another city like Kansas City,” which has the Sprint Center and is “waiting for a tenant.” He said, “We live in Southern California and Las Vegas. To fly to Kansas City is a little longer, a little further.” Maloof added, “We are not selling. … We believe in the league. We believe in David Stern” (SI.com, 7/16).

VEGAS, BABY! Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said there is no way the NBA “should go into Las Vegas.” Paige: “They won't be able to have the gambling on the NBA games. They have an issue about building an arena." ESPN.com’s Jackie MacMullen: "In light of the referee scandal with all of that, the NBA needs to stay from this for at least five years." But L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said a team in Las Vegas is a "logical next step from the summer league to the All-Star Game.” Plaschke: “It's an entertainment town. It's time for a team" ("Around The Horn," ESPN2, 7/16).

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