|Joe Maloof says the Kings ownership knew all along the new arena deal wasn't good for them. (Getty Images)|
Go ahead and bookmark Joe Maloof's interview with the Sacramento Bee. Because it might be relevant at some point in the near future.
Why? Maloof says the Kings aren't leaving Sacramento.
"That's not true, that's not true," Maloof said when asked about the suspicion the Kings will file for relocation next year. "I swear that is not going to happen. I don't care what rumors are out there. It's our team. We're not selling, and we're not leaving. Our identity is the Sacramento Kings. That's how we're known."
So why did the Maloofs back out of the deal that appeared to be done? It wasn't because they're struggling financially -- "We have tremendous personal wealth," he said -- but simply for the reason "it was a bad deal."
"The main thing was … the projected revenues were too high. They were at 2005 levels, before the housing bubble burst and the economy went down. We kept telling (NBA attorney) Harvey Benjamin that. He didn't listen, he didn't listen.We feel like criminals, and we didn't do anything wrong. This was just the wrong time and this was the wrong deal. When the time is right, we'll do a deal. We'll look at another downtown deal or something at Natomas. Bring us a deal we can sign. Nobody wanted to get an arena done more than we did. We've been talking about it for 13 years. Everyone just needs to calm down. We all need to cool off. What changed in the last year that's going to keep the Kings in Sacramento this time without a new arena plan? Maloof says the new collective bargaining agreement is to thank because of its aid to smaller markets.
We feel like criminals, and we didn't do anything wrong. This was just the wrong time and this was the wrong deal. When the time is right, we'll do a deal. We'll look at another downtown deal or something at Natomas. Bring us a deal we can sign. Nobody wanted to get an arena done more than we did. We've been talking about it for 13 years. Everyone just needs to calm down. We all need to cool off."
There is still a certain amount of betrayal though, mainly because it's hard to believe the team will stay without an arena plan. The Maloofs seem to very clearly dislike the deal, so why did it go on so long? Why did the agree to the original terms with a "handshake" agreement? Why did they stand at halfcourt of a game and raise their arms with Kevin Johnson?
"It was a nonbinding agreement. (NBA Commissioner David) Stern told us, "Boys, we have this framework of a deal. You can get out of it at any time." Stern is not happy with us. Kevin (Johnson) has a different view, too. We disagree. Some of those revenue projections aren't feasible over 30 years. We brought in this economist who is an expert in California. We hired him months ago and paid him a lot of money. You heard what he said. If this deal was right, we would have jumped on it.The bottom line is that the team is still in Sacramento and that Maloof swears they'll remain there. But that's the word on April 15, 2012. What happens a year from now? I have a bad feeling we all might be pulling this interview up again to recall for unhappy reasons.
We're emotional people. We wanted it to happen. It's not fun hearing what a lot of people are saying. But we're not disingenuous. At the game … what happened was that the mayor came running over, grabs my arms, puts them in the air. We made a mistake putting our hands up because we knew, we knew we had concerns. We just didn't want to embarrass him in front of all the fans."