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

734074.jpg

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.

How the four Kings rookies fit in heading into 2017-18 season

How the four Kings rookies fit in heading into 2017-18 season

SACRAMENTO - The Sacramento Kings swung for the fences during the NBA Draft Thursday night. They filled holes, took a gamble and might have even come away with a steal or two in their four selections. There are major roster questions that still have to be answered in free agency or through trade, but here is a look at how the new faces fit into the current situation in Sacramento.

De’Aaron Fox, point guard, University of Kentucky
Sacramento let it be known early that Fox was a target. The speedy point guard put on a show in his lone season in Kentucky, averaging 16.7 points, 4.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 29.6 minutes per game. He’ll need to improve his 3-point shooting (24.6 percent) to keep defenses from sagging off and clogging his running lanes, but his mechanics are sound.

According to Vlade Divac, “De’Aaron is our future.” Whether the team will look to add a veteran presence is still in question. Veterans Darren Collison and Ty Lawson have spoken about their willingness to return as a mentor, but Fox is expected to play major minutes in his rookie season as the Kings look to turn up the tempo.

Fox is a big time athlete with great size for the position. Standing a little over 6-foot-3 with a 6-foot-6.5 wingspan, the left handed point guard projects well on both ends of the floor. He’ll need to add weight to his 170-pound frame, but the Kings have a strong strength and conditioning team that has been working overtime all summer building on last season’s draft class.

With both Collison and Lawson entering free agency unrestricted, Fox is likely the Kings starter on Day 1.

Justin Jackson, small forward, University of North Carolina
Jackson tested the draft waters a year ago and decided to return to the Tar Heels for one more season. The gamble paid off as Jackson and his North Carolina teammates rolled through the NCAA tournament and were crowned champs.

In addition to winning it all, Jackson showed major improvement in his junior year under Roy Williams. The 22-year-old wing posted 18.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 32.2 minutes per game. Jackson’s biggest improvement came as a perimeter shooter where he converted 36.8 percent of his 3-point shots, compared to just 29.2 percent as a sophomore.

Like Fox, Jackson needs to add strength and weight to compete in the NBA for 82 games a season. He is a wiry athlete that stands 6-foot-8 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, but he weighed in at just 201 at the Draft combine (up from his 192 a season ago).

As of today, Jackson is the only true small forward on the Kings roster. They have options in Garrett Temple and Malachi Richardson, but they will likely address the position in free agency or through trade. Jackson will play minutes as a rookie, but how many will be determined by how quickly he can adjust to the NBA level. He’s a mature scorer and he has defensive potential, but he will likely begin his career in a reserve role, at least initially.

Harry Giles, power forward/center, Duke University
There was a time when Giles ranked amongst the very best of high school player in the country. A series of bad breaks led Giles to tumble down the draft board where the Kings were more than willing to gamble at the 20th selection.

You can take his numbers at Duke and throw them out the window, he was never truly healthy in his time with Coach K. Standing 6-foot-10.5 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, the 232-pound big has an incredible frame. Unfortunately, the frame is supported by two surgically repaired knees.

Giles tore his ACL in both knees as a prep athlete in separate incidents and he needed a third procedure to clean up one of his knees last year. If there is good news here, it is that both knees were damaged in contact injuries, as opposed to the knee giving out in a non-contact situation. The scope that occurred later is also not out of the norm as the body attempts to adjust to the changes in the joint.

Like the Duke medical staff, the Kings will need to show patience in years one and two as Giles continues to heal from the series of surgeries. The Kings knew the risk of drafting the talented 19-year-old and they also know that players like Danny Manning, Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin went on to have very successful careers after bilateral ACL tears.   

Don’t expect Giles to play major minutes in year one, but the Kings fell in love with his talent in a pre-draft workout in Sacramento. The team has a bevy of bigs, including Skal Labissiere, Willie Cauley-Stein, Kosta Koufos and Georgios Papagiannis. This is a risk/reward pick for the future. If Giles can get right, he could be the best big man taken in the 2017 NBA Draft and maybe even a lot more than that.

Frank Mason III, point guard, Kansas University
Despite collecting a room full of trophies in his senior year at Kansas, Mason slid to the early second round where the Kings shunned trade offers and pounced. Like Fox, the high-flying guard was a major target of the Kings, even coming to Sacramento twice for visits before draft night.

The 23-year-old Wooden Award winner dominated in his final season under Bill Self, averaging 20.9 points, 5.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 36.1 minutes a night. He even shot 47.1 percent from behind the arc on 4.8 attempts per game. At 6-foot, 189-pounds, the biggest knock on Mason is his lack of size. He makes up for that with power and a 41-inch vertical.

Sacramento is in a tough situation when it comes to their point guard position. Fox was a no-brainer at number five and Mason is an NBA ready contributor at pick 34. But can they walk into a season with two rookies manning the point guard position? 

It’s possible. The Kings have Temple on the roster, who can steal some minutes, but Fox and Mason make an intriguing thunder and lightning pairing that should be a lot of fun to watch. Don’t be shocked if Mason earns a spot in the rotation in training camp and plays solid minutes in a sparkplug role off the bench as a rookie.

Purge of veterans continues as Kings waive Arron Afflalo

Purge of veterans continues as Kings waive Arron Afflalo

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings continued their purge of veteran contracts Friday afternoon. NBC Sports California has confirmed that the team opted out of the second year of Arron Afflalo’s 2-year, $25 million deal. They will instead pay the shooting guard a $1.5 million buyout, saving $11 million and allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Afflalo, 31, posted 8.4 points and 2.0 rebounds in 25.9 minutes per game. The 10-year NBA veteran played in 61 games, including 45 starts for the Kings last season while shooting 41.1 percent from behind the arc.

The former UCLA star is the second Kings veteran to have his option declined, joining Anthony Tolliver in the ranks of unrestricted free agents. Both Rudy Gay and Langston Galloway have chosen not to exercise player options with the team as the franchise turns to a youth movement.

Garrett Temple and Kosta Koufos are the only remaining players players on the Kings’ roster with more than two years experience in the league. Sacramento will enter free agency with upwards of $55 million to spend in free agency once they sign their four rookies from Thursday evening’s NBA Draft.