During an episode of Inside the NBA, Ernie Johnson brought up the topic of the Kings' rumored sale. This appeared to strike a nerve with Barkley, as the Hall of Famer offered a heartfelt reaction to the potential dealing of the franchise.
A response which led to Barkley calling out the Maloof brothers for their wrongdoing:
First of all, I love the Maloof brothers, but they screwed this thing up royally. You know, all these teams try to screw these cities, Ernie. That’s what the deal is.
Those people in Sacramento, they were some of the best fans in the world...this is all about the owners being greedy and screwing these fans.
It's time for David Stern to step in and say 'you guys gotta sell that team.'
Regardless of what your stance is on their potential move, one thing is clear: the Maloof family has "screwed this thing up royally."
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported on January 9, 2013 that the Maloof family was finalizing the sale of the Kings to a Seattle group. The group consists of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and San Francisco hedge fund manager Chris Hansen.
Nick Monacelli of News 10 was one of the numerous journalists to disprove said report.
This is far from the first we've heard of a potential sale. The Kings have been rumored to be in the process of selling and relocating for years (via CBS Sports).
In that time, the organization has done nothing to build a legitimate contender.
Their youth is promising, as former Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans pairs with DeMarcus Cousins to lead a promising charge. Unfortunately, the Kings have failed to surround their youth with the veteran presence necessary to secure victories.
For proof, note that Sacramento hasn't finished above .500 since 2006.
On the previously alluded-to edition of Inside the NBA, Kenny "The Jet" Smith chimed in on the burning issue. For perspective, Smith played for the Kings from 1987 to 1990.
His response was one that fans can relate to:
...the support has been there. So, there is no reason to leave. The reason to stay is to get better players, because they have supported terrible players. If you get anyone who's close, who can sniff the playoffs...they will support that team.
It would break my heart.
Has hope been lost in California's capital?
Not just yet.
Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports that Mark Mastrov has emerged as a potential buyer (via Pro Basketball Talk). Mastrov owns 24-Hour Fitness and finished second during the bidding war to own the Golden State Warriors.
Perhaps most important of all, Mastrov would keep the Kings in Sacramento. "Definitely, there've been conversations," Mastrov said from his northern California office. "Definitely, there's interest in acquiring the team and keeping it in Sacramento."
For the sake of those faithful fans in Sacramento, our fingers are crossed for Mr. Mastrov.
Regardless of who ends up in possession of the Kings, Barkley is spot-on with his evaluation. The Maloof family has put Kings fans through devastating lows and rarely rewarding highs.
Even if it means the team relocates, it's time the NBA rids themselves of any owners who have abused their privileges.