As recently as a month ago, it was reported that the Sacramento Kings had reached an agreement with the city to finance a new basketball arena. But last week, NBA commissioner David Stern announced that the deal had fallen through, and no new arena would be built. This has raised speculation that the Kings will relocate at some point in the not-too-distant future. Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee joined us to break down the story.
“We’ve run out of words to describe it,” Kasler said. “We go through debacle, and fiasco, and mess. [Kings’ owners] the Maloofs say they did not back out of the deal, the Maloofs say there never really was a deal. There are about a dozen different deal points that they thoroughly disagreed with, and that the only thing they ever agreed to was a handshake agreement on the framework of a deal, just the bare outlines. But the city, the NBA, and AEG felt that there was a deal.”
One of the sticking points was a $3.25 million pre-development expenditure that both sides felt should be paid for by the other. But with such a small price tag in comparison to the total cost of the deal, a reported $391 million, it was certainly not the only roadblock.
“It was not the only impediment, it was an impediment,” Kasler said. “One of the things that the Maloofs were stressing was that they just didn’t believe the revenue and profit projections that the NBA and AEG were putting out.”
Despite the deal falling through, the owners still say that they intend to keep the Kings in Sacramento long-term. However, many people don’t buy it.
“The mayor, Kevin Johnson, is openly skeptical,” said Kasler. “He stopped short of calling them liars, but he says he doesn’t know what to believe. He says they’re very capable of changing their minds.
“There is a possibility that the two sides could come back to the table and cobble together a new arena deal,” Kasler continued, “but right now, there is so much ill will and so much distrust between the two sides, it’s hard to see it happening.”