Sacramento business leaders are asking NBA Commissioner David Stern and league owners to "strongly encourage" the Maloof family to sell the Kings so a deal for a new arena can proceed.In a letter signed by about two dozen of Sacramento's most powerful businesses leaders and sent to Stern on Thursday, the group accuses Kings owners Joe, Gavin and George Maloof of not negotiating in good faith. It also questions whether the Maloofs have the finances - and motivation - to keep the team in Sacramento."We feel it is time for the Maloofs to sell their ownership of the franchise, for the good of the city and in the interest of advancing Sacramento's effort to build a downtown arena," a portion of the letter reads. "The city, the fans and the NBA deserve and require an ownership group that is fully committed to being a good-faith constructive participant in the arena process."And we deserve an ownership group that is not only committed to the long-term viability of the franchise in this region but also one that has the wherewithal to make it a thriving, competitive organization."The timing of the letter was no accident.The Maloofs were giving an update on the project to the NBA Board of Governors during its annual spring meeting in New York. It was exactly a year ago when Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the city's business leaders convinced owners - along with presenting more than 10 million of new sponsorship and ticket sales for this season - at the same Manhattan hotel to keep the Kings in Sacramento instead of moving to Anaheim, Calif.Family spokesman Eric Rose said the Maloofs are "saddened and disappointed" by the letter. He said the Maloofs are not selling the team and are committed to help fund the estimated 391 million arena, which would open for the 2015-16 season, pending final approval of the non-binding agreement the City Council already passed."We share in the community's frustration on forging a workable agreement on what is ultimately a 400 million transaction that will impact the region for many years to come," Rose said in a statement. "However, we must all remember what is at stake in the development of a new arena in Sacramento, and must insure the agreement works for all parties involved, and most importantly, the residents of the City."Sacramento's place on the NBA map seemed secured only a few weeks ago.Under the non-binding term sheet, Sacramento will contribute 255.5 million, mostly by leasing out parking garages around the facility. The Kings agreed to pay 73.25 million and arena operator AEG will contribute 58.75 million. The remaining gap will be covered by a ticket surcharge, advertising around the facility, the sale of public lands and a sponsorship campaign to sell bricks and plaques around the complex.The biggest sticking point has been a dispute over environmental and predevelopment costs.Under the term sheet, the Kings and arena operator AEG each were to pay about 3.25 million in pre-development costs with the city paying the remaining 6.5 million. George Maloof said in a phone interview that he does not believe the team should pay 3.25 million in pre-development costs because they're "playing the role of the tenant."The NBA, which helped broker the deal, agreed to pay about 200,000 to cover the initial costs and keep the project on schedule. Whether the rest will be covered - and who will cover it - was among the items expected to be discussed this week in New York during two days of meetings, which end Friday.Sacramento city officials are not attending the meetings. Johnson has said the city has done its part and it's up to the Kings and the NBA to resolve the issue.
SACRAMENTO -- The Kings had a big draft night. The kind of night that might turn a franchise around. They entered the evening with three picks, including two in the top 10. With their first selection, they filled the franchise’s biggest need when they drafted De’Aaron Fox and then they went to work.
Vlade Divac and his team of front office execs jumped on an early trade, dealing the No. 10 overall selection to the Portland Trail Blazers for No. 15 and No. 20. North Carolina’s Justin Jackson was too appealing to pass on, and like Fox, he fit a major position of need.
Sacramento came back with the 20th selection, taking one of the biggest risk/reward picks in the draft. Duke’s Harry Giles is playing on rebuilt knees, but before that, he was one of the top prospects in all of basketball. If he can stay healthy, the Kings may have drafted the biggest steal of the night.
They topped off the evening with the selection of Wooden and Naismith Award winner Frank Mason III with the 34th overall pick. The Kings entered the night without a single point guard and they ended it with two very exciting options.
“I’m very excited about the talent that we brought here tonight,” Divac said. “They’re going to just be an addition to what we’re trying to build here in the second half of the season.”
The Kings turned down overtures to move up to draft Fox. The 19-year-old speedster will step in and immediately compete for the starting point guard spot and he’s very excited to be a King.
“It’s just the vibe that I got when I was out there,” Fox told local Sacramento media via phone. “I felt like they really wanted me.”
John Calipari is known for his bevy of All-Star bigs throughout the league, but he’s also produced a long line of big-time guards. Sacramento is hoping that Fox can live up to the billing of other former Calipari guards like Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall. According to Divac, the Kings were so high on Fox, they would have taken him higher.
“Screaming,” Divac said about the reaction in the room to Fox falling in their lap. “It was a guy that we all loved and in some way, if we had the number 1 pick, he would’ve been our guy.”
“De’Aaron is our future,” Divac added.
Without a perfect fit at 10, Divac made an adjustment on the fly to add more assets. The decision to trade 10 for 15 and 20 was very similar to the last season when the Kings dealt the eighth overall pick for No. 13, 28 and the draft rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic. By splitting the pick in two, the Kings were able to land two talented pieces that mesh with the current roster build.
Jackson and Fox know each other well. The duo played AAU ball together and Fox says he considers Jackson an older brother. He is friends with Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere from their Kentucky connection.
“I feel like we can grow together,” Fox said of the Kings’ young core. “Of course, it’s going to take some time, but every franchise takes time.”
Fox is the jewel of the night and Jackson will compete for time at the wing, but Giles is the wildcard. The 19-year-old big can play the four and the five and has elite potential.
“I’m so excited he was there for us at the 20,” Divac said. “That kind of talent you can’t pass.”
The Kings have done their homework on Giles. The type of knee injury that he sustained is similar to former NBA players Danny Manning, Amaré Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin. Manning and Martin each played 15 years in the league and Stoudemire lasted 14 seasons before retiring in 2016. After meeting him in person in Sacramento and working him out, they are very confident that he will be able to overcome his injuries and have a successful career in the NBA.
Mason III will remind Kings fans of Isaiah Thomas, another undersized point guard that fell to the second round. The Kansas star posted 20.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds for the Jayhawks last season. He’s a hard-nosed leader that can jump out of the gym and will instantly become a fan favorite in Sacramento.
It’s a huge haul. Sacramento added two points guards, a wing and a big from some of the best basketball schools in the country. More than that, they added high character winners to a changing culture.
For the first time in a while, the Sacramento Kings have accumulated assets. They have hit the ground running in their attempted rebuild and for one night, they are the talk of the NBA.
With the No. 34 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Kings selected the 2016-17 Player of the Year in point gaurd Frank Mason III.
Mason averaged 20.9 points and 5.2 assists per game as a senior at Kansas.
The Kings wrapped up the 2017 NBA Draft with point guard De'Aaron Fox at No. 5, small forward Justin Jackson at No. 15, power forward Harry Giles at No. 20 and Mason at No. 34.