Kings

The Maloofs -- Don't show us the money, give us the money

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The Maloofs -- Don't show us the money, give us the money

You have to hand it to both the Maloof family and the city of Sacramento. For two entities without enough money to achieve their dreams, theyre playing their cards like they do.

Thats the center of the crudstorm the two sides are creating for each other as they pursue their mutual goals freedom from Sacramento for the Maloofs, and freedom from the Maloofs for Sacramento. And the kids, er, Kings get caught in the middle.

Isnt that always the way when nobodys got enough jack to make it work?

As such, there are no heroes here. Not even David Stern, who tried to help midwife a deal he must have known was a pipedream. He ended up getting slapped by the Maloofs, who may be cash-poor and getting cash-poorer, but are still one-thirtieth of his supervisors, and a commissioner who picks a fight with an owner is an ex-commissioner who hasnt got his new business cards printed yet.

The Maloofs certainly arent. They cant hold the Kings, no matter what, because their other businesses are cratering, and their selling price obviously goes up if the buyer has the power to come and go as they like. They need a new arena lease in Sacramento like they need a new bank statement.

So why did they do the dance with Sacramento then? So as to minimize their public opprobrium, which lasted only a few days anyway because fans still believe after all this time that their favorite teams are theirs because they have been bought with love and tickets.

Somewhere, the Easter Bunny is laughing his head off.

But there is plenty of blame for Sacramento as well, for cobbling a deal that its revenues could not realistically support, all in chasing a sports dream. But worse, for announcing what a good job theyd done even before it had begun. Why Kevin Johnson thought a press conference was a good idea when he had exactly zero signatures is a level of madness that beggars the imagination.

But he did it because he (a) wanted voters to like him, and (b) wanted to box the Maloofs into a corner by getting them to the presser. Well, adulation talks, but money still walks, and the Maloofs are short-timers trying to cash out as quickly and as lucratively as possible.

Or you could look at it another way. They sped up the process that went on Seattle from years to days, as in We want to stay and play in our city, but you have to build us an arena and you didnt so were going where we wanted to go anyway. There are differences in nuance between Clay Bennetts transformation of the SuperSonics into the Thunder and what happens to the Kings, most notably that Bennett has money and the Maloofs do not, but they are essentially the same thing, namely this:

Dont just show us the money. Give us the money. But since we know you cant, weve already booked office space somewhere else.

In short, the Maloofs succeeded by failing, and Sacramento failed by pretending to succeed. The fans get hosed because it was preordained for them to get hosed. The game, you see, is rigged, for as long as there are other markets to colonize.

And there is a lesson in all this for those people following the As saga. The problems with that move arent procedural, either, no matter how many ways people try to blame Bud Selig or the blue-ribbon panel or the Giants or Jerry Reinsdorf. Theyre all players, but the play is still all monetary, and always has been. They are about leverage and resale value, not about baseball and commissioners.

In the meantime, people in the city want the Maloofs out, as in appealing to Stern to strip the Maloofs of their team, which is an idea so idiotic that its proponents should be locked in dumpsters.

And the Maloofs want the mayor out of negotiations, which is equally moronic and requires only the rental of more dumpsters.

You cant make this stuff up, except that its the only way this could have gone. Its what happens when big hats notice that nobody brought the cattle.

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

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AP

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

Some professional athletes take a stand by kneeling on the sidelines or raising a fist into the air. Some write succinct tweets expressing their dismay with the current political climate in the United States of America. Others just get right to the point with a poignant off the cuff statement to a waiting camera.

Former Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins has certainly mastered the art of the cryptic tweet, but he’s also never been one to shy away from a direct question when asked. When an inquiry was thrown his direction about confederate statues in New Orleans and his home state of Alabama, Cousins was brief with his words, but very clear.

"Take all them mother****ers down," Cousins told TMZ while navigating a security line at the airport. "Take 'em all down.”

Cousins may not have chosen the most eloquent words, but his point of view is shared by plenty of others. He isn’t the first athlete to take a stand with regards to race in America over the last week as racial tensions have spilled out into the streets in Charlottesville, Virginia. Social media is filled with professional athletes adding their thoughts to the conversation.

The Warriors’ Kevin Durant has made it clear that he will not visit the White House and President Donald Trump, a visit most teams make following an NBA championship.

"Nah, I won't do that," the 8-time All-Star told ESPN on Thursday. "I don't respect who's in office right now.”

"I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that,” Durant continued. “That's just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they'll all agree with me."

Garrett Temple has used Twitter to make his thoughts known as well. Recently named the Kings’ Players Voice Teammate of the Year by the National Basketball Players Association, Temple has used his position as an NBA player to speak out multiple times.

Over the last week, he’s fielded questions and had plenty of discussions through social media on the issues of race and equality. His Twitter timeline is littered with thoughtful replies and some not so thoughtful ideas as well. Plenty of fans thanking him for using his position to further the conversation and of course, there is the occasional, “stick to sports” comment.

Agree or disagree, today’s athletes have huge platforms to share their opinions. From Cousins to Temple, there are varying degrees of engagement, but the time of players staying out of the discussion is long gone.

The Maloofs' colossal charity bet on Mayweather-McGregor circus act

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AP

The Maloofs' colossal charity bet on Mayweather-McGregor circus act

Gavin and Joe Maloof have gambled plenty in their lives, which is in part how they ended up losing the Sacramento Kings. They ran big, they hit a dry well, and they ended up selling the works.

So their decision to bet $880,000 on Floyd Mayweather in his “thing” with Conor McGregor for a $160,000 payout seemed the perfectly daft idea for two guys who were painted as perfectly daft when they were running the Kings and their other businesses into a freeway abutment on I-80.

In fairness, they are planning to donate their winnings to a number of charities in the name of their hangover drink (Never Too Hungover, although I might have gone with the more lyrical HurlNoMore), so it’s not like their hearts aren’t a place close to the mythical “right place.”

But it does beg the question, “Why don’t they just give $160,000 and skip the scam?” Because it wasn’t about charity, it was about promotion, and while there’s nothing wrong with promotion, attaching it to one of the seediest carnival events of the modern era makes it seem, well, kind of creepy.

Or maybe “creepy” is too strong. Maybe’s it’s just opportunism, which is more, well, Vegas-y.

Kings fans will remember the Maloofs as the family that saved the foundering team from the clutches of owner Jim Thomas, and then remember them as the family whose clutches Vivek Ranadive had to save the team from 15 years later. It’s the nature of most ownerships – you do good to eliminate a prior evil, and eventually become evil yourselves when the fans turn on you.

But the Maloofs aren’t evil – even their most strident critics will say that. They just saw an opportunity to scratch a bunch of itches at once – good-heartedness, advertising, gambling and Vegas’ most important product – selling you things you could never imagine wanting.

It almost makes you wonder if they harbor a secret itch to take the $160,000 and double down on behalf of the charities for another of their pet projects – the Vegas Golden Knights. If they put it on the Knights to win the Stanley Cup at 200-1, that’s $32,000,000. Then if they took that and . . .

. . . and before you know it, they’re trapped in the fantasyland of Las Vegas at its weirdest. Maybe it’s just performance art with more money than most of us can eat.