Maloofs getting cold feet on Sacramento arena deal

March 29, 2012, 11:47 pm
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In case you forgot, a few days before the Sacramento power structure announced that it had nailed down a deal to build an arena and keep the Kings in the capital, your humbler servant pointed out that no deal is a deal until the deal is done.Well, consider this the proof.According to Los Angeles Times Lance Pugmire, the Maloof boys are starting to get either cold feet or arthritic wallet hands, because the unthinkable has already begun to be thought in earnest.
But in case thats too much bother, let us summarize Pugmires story:The Maloofs have growing doubts that Sacramento can get the building done by 2015, dispute that they have a firm agreement to contribute to the building of the sports and entertainment complex that would house the Kings, and are willing to re-engage with Anaheim to relocate their troubled franchise.In other words, the deal they all trumpeted, some tearfully, is already on the verge of blowing apart because the Maloofs say they didnt agree to what they seemed to agree to mere weeks ago. And at the very least, whatever they did agree to is quite likely more than they plan to actually adhere to.Now do you see why nothing is done until its done? Now do you understand why press conferences are to a satisfying meal what Top Ramen is to steak and lobster? Now do you understand the difference between talk and walk?I mean, we did try to warn you, didnt we?This may just be posturing by the Maloofs, whose own financial shoes are being squeezed more than they wish (theyre supposed to be down for 75 million, with the remaining 316 million, give or take the usual cost overruns, covered by the city and AEG, the arena people). Maybe they see that the new deal pushes them closer to selling the team they clearly want to retain. Maybe they just dont feel like it.But the ink isnt dry yet, and mayor Kevin Johnsons plan has already taken on substructure damage. Put another way, if the Maloofs were still on board, they would not have had their spokesman, Eric Rose, release a statement that read in part: If an arena project cannot be completed by the timeline set by the city, then the Kings would be forced to explore all of their options."And:The leadership in Sacramento is aware of the many challenges in completing the project in the timeframe they set. The city has previously committed to having the Kings in a new arena by the start of the 2015 basketball season.In short, the Maloofs told Sacramento they doubt this can happen in time, and are ready to walk before they throw their share into the pile.And since they argue about both their share and the existence of the agreement that makes the pile, the arena is suddenly back to square 0.5, with a city trying not to jump too high when its arena tenant say, Up!How this turns out remains every much to be seen, but it is one more example of how little the press conference matters unless it is competing with the noise of a jackhammer. Or put another way, nothins nothins until everyone sees the somethin.And that completes our lecture for today.