Maloofs may screw Seattle over instead

Maloofs may screw Seattle over instead
April 10, 2013, 10:00 pm
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Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer must wonder anew with whom they’re dealing with here. April 18 cannot come soon enough for them..
—Ray Ratto on the Maloof brothers

The latest news from the hilarity-ensues department in Sacramento is that the Maloof brothers have now given Sacramento a Friday deadline to provide a written and binding backup deal in case their deal with Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer is somehow voted down by NBA owners.

In other words, they’re hedging their bets yet again, even against the people with whom they’ve already done a binding deal. The assumption has always been that Seattle would have to screw something up for the sale to collapse, but it’s starting to look like it might end up with the Maloofs screwing Seattle instead.

And shame on us for not seeing this.

Some people might consider that an act of bad faith, and frankly, it isn’t an act of good faith by any means. But in a deal like this, the seller has the leverage – known as McCourt’s First Principle Of Bad Business – and leverage and good faith tend to collide with each other.

Indeed, when Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson said Wednesday, “People don't understand it. I've got a good relationship with the Maloofs,” antennae went up all over the place. “Publicly we may differ on occasion or more, but behind the scenes, we have great conversations. They know that I'm fighting like crazy to keep the team here. They believe in our ownership group.”

Seattle is still the favorite to win the owners’ vote on the 18th because of its considerable advantages, but Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer must wonder anew with whom they’re dealing with here. April 18 cannot come soon enough for them. Or for Sacramento, for that matter.

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Given the rush to acknowledge Barry Zito as a reinvented genius/cicada who went underground for years and then spectacularly leapt into everyone’s view, it’s sad to think he will never be able to air his disdain for all those people who slagged him for so long – mostly because there are too many of them for him to get to before he dies.

[RELATED: Zito's arm and bat boost Giants before road trip]

Still, there is comfort in knowing there is a parallel universe somewhere where Zito is saying “You suck” to every person who worked him over in the hard times. Of course, that’s all he’s got the time to do in that universe, given the unanimity of the mockery he has endured.

So maybe this is the better universe after all. But maybe he can fire off a few in his retirement speech, whenever that is.

***

Wade Boggs wants the Boston Red Sox to retire his number, but he’s been told that he won’t receive such an honor because he didn’t finish his career in Boston. He in turn told Stan Grossfeld of the Boston Globe he had been offered a deal to remain in Boston for the rest of his days by the late owner Jean Yawkey. “She said, ‘Would seven years, $35 million be adequate?’ I said, ‘I’ll sign it right now.’ But then she slips in the tub, she dies, and everything washes away.”

Yes, the story ends with a very creepy overtone.

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Rolando McClain, the former Raider who achieved so little in so much time, has taken an essentially entry-level deal to play in Baltimore in hopes of reconstructing the career that never was in Oakland.

It’s a one-year deal, meaning he has 16 games to prove he wasn’t one of Al Davis’ most massive errors. I mean, he was one as a Raider, but maybe Davis’ problem in his later years wasn’t that he couldn’t pick NFL talent, but that he kept putting it on the wrong team.

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And finally, the Cal logo looks like an angry football. We mention this in case you ever forget who’s supposed to be paying the bills in Berkeley, and it isn’t Mike Montgomery or Lindsay Gottlieb. No pressure though, Sonny. No pressure at all.