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.

Report: If Joerger not available, Kings likely would have hired Ewing

Report: If Joerger not available, Kings likely would have hired Ewing

On May 7, 2016, the Grizzlies fired Dave Joerger.

Two days later, the Kings hired Joerger.

If he had not become available, Sacramento likely would have tabbed Patrick Ewing as their head coach, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Ewing is currently the associate head coach of the Hornets.

He has been on Charlotte's staff since 2013.

Before that, he was an assistant coach with the Magic for six seasons.

After retiring from the NBA following the 2001-02 season, he was an assistant with Washington for one season before joining the Houston Rockets.

Ewing was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008.

Bullied by Bucks, Kings unable to match playoff intensity

Bullied by Bucks, Kings unable to match playoff intensity

SACRAMENTO -- The NBA learning curve is steep. On Wednesday night in Sacramento, the young Kings faced one of the league’s up and coming players and a team fighting for a playoff spot. The atmosphere was foreign and the Kings didn’t respond well in the 116-98 loss to the Bucks.

Milwaukee came out of the gate and bullied the Kings. They threw a young Sacramento team all over the court on their way to a 69 point half. To add to the insult, some of the Bucks veterans even taunted the Sacramento crowd as they shot a stunning 61.4 percent from the field before the intermission.

“I think we got pushed around a little bit in the first half,” rookie Skal Labissiere said. “But they’re trying to make the playoffs still. They’re trying to make the eighth spot. So we have to be a little bit more physical with them and not let them punk us around.”

What the Kings saw from the Bucks is the mindset of a team fighting for a playoff spot. Wednesday night’s contest is what you see in the tail end of a season when one team has something to play for and the other has gone with a youth movement.

“They’re playing physical, they’re not backing down from nobody,” Buddy Hield said. “They have something they’re playing for. Obviously we don’t right now because our season is out of reach.”

Sacramento’s veterans looked at the game as a learning experience for the younger players. They need exposure to this type of game late in the season. They need to see what the expectations will be in a year or two when the Kings hope to be in a similar situation.

“These guys have to go through it, they have to learn it and then hopefully when we make the playoffs in the coming years, they’ll be able to understand that it jumps to another level,” Garrett Temple said. “The first 50 games is one level, the the next 30 is another and that playoff is different animal.”

Building a winner usually comes in stages in the NBA. By the time you sneak into the playoffs, you have already come close once or twice and the first round matchups are usually against seasoned winning clubs.

That is something the Bucks will learn soon enough. With the win, they are now tied for the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff chase, but nothing is certain. They currently sit a game out of the eight spot and just 2.5 from falling to ninth and missing the playoffs entirely.

If they squeak in, they will play either the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics or Washington Wizards in Round 1.

Every game is magnified when you have something at stake late in a season and the Kings were never able to match the intensity of their opponent.

All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo put on a show. The star forward dominated every player the Kings threw at him on his way to a 32-point, 13-rebounds, six-assist performance.

“People think I’m crazy to say that - if he gets a 3-point shot, he’ll be the best player in the league,” Temple said of Antetokounmpo. “He can penetrate, he has great court vision, can handle the ball, not to mention he’s 6-11 and a wiry strength that you don’t understand unless you’re play against him. He can literally play 1-5 in this NBA and he has a mismatch at every position.”

Labissiere drew the first look on Antetokounmpo and it didn’t take long to see that the rookie was overmatched by his opponent’s versatility. Willie Cauley-Stein had some success early in the second half, using his length and getting physical with the star forward, but the game was already decided.

It’s a process. With a youth movement comes games like the one against Milwaukee. All you can ask for is effort, which Sacramento has shown. Despite the team’s 3-11 record since the All-Star break, there is progress, especially from the core of first and second year players.

“They’re getting better and better,” Tyreke Evans said. “They’re still learning the game, but as they’re playing, they’re working hard. They’re working hard in practice, getting reps up. It’s going to take time, it’s not going to happen overnight. They’re going to have good games, they’re going to have bad games. You’ve got learn from it.”

Sacramento is in the middle of a seven game stretch against teams tuning up for the playoffs. The schedule doesn’t get any easier Friday when the Kings travel to Oracle Arena to face the Golden State Warriors. It’s another chance to learn on the fly.