George Maloof Surprised Kings Stayed In Sacramento, Skeptical About Future
Kings co-Owner George Maloof is "still somewhat surprised the team is playing one more year in Sacramento," according to Arash Markazi of ESPN L.A. Maloof said, "The decision to remain in Sacramento was tough. We had what we thought was a very fair opportunity in Anaheim. ... It was a difficult decision to remain in Sacramento. I'm not going to sugarcoat that but we're going to give it another shot. We're going to give it an honest shot. And hopefully there's an arena there, and if not we're going to have to move on." Maloof said that he has yet to receive a formal arena proposal from Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, and the "discussions are in the preliminary stages a month after the Kings announced they were staying in Sacramento for one more season." The Maloofs "have put a tentative March 1 deadline on getting plans for a new arena in place, essentially giving Johnson 10 months to do what the Maloofs have tried and failed to do for the past 10 years." If the deadline is "not met, the Kings will file an application with the NBA for relocation." Maloof: "It's not going to be easy. We don't want to go back and fool anybody that it's going to be a slam dunk. We're not going to come back and tell the community we're here forever. It's this year. If you buy tickets, it's for this year and there are no promises beyond that." The family certainly will "contribute to the financing of a new arena." But Maloof said, "We are not going into this with a big checkbook." Asked about the chances of an arena deal, he said, "I say it's a long shot. I've said it before and I still think it's a long shot." Either way, the Maloofs are "looking for a quick resolution because the team continues to lose money playing in an outdated facility with only 30 luxury suites and 412 club seats." Maloof: "Arco Arena is not an NBA arena. It's not even an NCAA arena" (ESPNLA.com, 5/16).
THE KINGS AND I: In Sacramento, Ailene Voisin noted Johnson will represent the Kings at tonight's NBA Draft lottery in Secaucus, N.J. Gavin Maloof said, "It was my idea, and when I ran it by the family, they all loved it. We thought it would make a great statement for the family and the organization and the city to have the mayor go to New York. Look, we all want the same thing. We want to put the past behind us. The mayor has enough of a burden on him. We all want to get a new arena and get back to where we were, back to winning.” Voisin wrote sending Johnson to the lottery is a "brilliant move, a shrewd gesture, a big-time play." The mayor "earned this," and he "absolutely deserves the stage" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 5/15).