Kings co-owner George Maloof suggested this morning that the team renovate Power Balance Pavilion and keep playing there rather than build a new arena in the downtown rail yard. That represents a complete 180-degree turn for Maloof, who for years has suggested that the Kings needed a new arena in order to remain in Sacramento.
"It's less money. There's less pressure on everybody," Maloof told the Sacramento Bee. "Why don't we look at redoing Power Balance? Most of our customers enjoy going to Power Balance. ... It just seems more natural."
The Maloofs agreed to the new arena deal back in February, but they are doing their best to back out of it, hoping that the rest of the NBA owners will come to their side and demand that someone else—namely the city of Sacramento—float the $3 million in pre-development costs that the Maloof's say they won't pay, or that the NBA itself cough up the money.
In turn, the sudden switch of stances from the Maloofs has angered the city of Sacramento. A group of Sacramento business people have written a letter to the NBA demanding that the Maloofs be forced to sell the team.
It's extremely doubtful that would ever happen, given the fact that the Maloofs make their payroll. Regardless, the city of Sacramento doesn't seem to be backing the Kings owners' new stance.
The Maloofs' claim that they have no interest in relocating the team, but ProBasketballTalk's Aaron Bruski also reports that if mayor Kevin Johnson isn't interested in renegotiating a new deal, then the deal is over.
NBA analyst David Aldridge reports via Twitter that the Sacramento community is firing back, claiming they have heard this story dozens of time from the Maloof brothers before.
The Sacramento Bee reported that NBA Commissioner David Stern told reporters on Friday that the arena issue appears dead as he said the two side weren't able to make a deal and that nothing was going to happen.
"It's not going to happen, but I can say the city has stepped up," he said. "We have nothing further to give, to cajole, to yell, or all the various ways I've tried to keep the parties on track to get what we thought was a win win in Sacramento."
He went onto say that the Maloof's were set to meet with Johnson, but wasn't optimistic about a deal being done, claiming that the brothers were concerned that the deal would add to their debt load.
Stern went on to say that he wanted the deal to get done and committed $7 million in league funds and $67 million that the Maloofs could borrow on the NBA's credit line.
As for Kings fans, it looks like they won't have the privilege of watching their hometown team play in a new building anytime soon in the near future. The Maloofs took that away from them today and became the two most unpopular figures in the city of Sacramento in the process.
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