Kings fans in Sacramento woke up Sunday morning to the horribly disappointing news that until the Maloofs make their intentions known, the Taylor/ICON group has decided to put their feasibility study for a new sports and entertainment facility on hold. It all makes perfect sense. The Taylor/ICON group are assembling the feasibility study pro-bono and if the Maloofs are not signed on to be the major tenant, then the study needs to include …well, for lack of a better term, “mana from heaven” instead of Joe and Gavin Maloof at 10 million a year.
“It doesn’t make a lot of sense to produce a plan until the Kings make a decision, because they’re decision is going to play a huge role in what the financial plan looks like.”
-Adam Mendelsohn Taylor/ICON spokesman
For those fans who were holding out hope that maybe, just maybe, the Taylor/ICON group would come in on April 17th with a grand slam and save the day, today is a reality check. Are the Kings already gone? Probably, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the free flow of ideas should stop, so here is one from me.
Here is what we know, or think we know: the Maloofs owe the city an estimated $67 million for a loan they assumed from the previous owners. According to sources, there is a $9 million pre-payment penalty attached to the loan, which will drive the cost owed to the city of Sacramento by the Maloofs to a whopping $76 million. The initial loan, voted through by the Sacramento City Council, was never put before the tax payers so let’s assume that what happens from here on out is none of the voters business.
In a day and age of foreclosures and for the very lucky few, loan modifications, why not use some of this loan to keep the Kings in town long enough to see if the Taylor /ICON group can do what so many before have failed at- get an arena built in the capital city.
Mayor Johnson and members of the Sacramento City Council: waive that $9 million pre-payment penalty if the Maloofs agree to stay through next season and give the Taylor/ICON group a chance to spin yarn into gold. If that isn’t enough, shave another $5 or 6 million off the top of the loan for a chance to avoid your own political demise. An ex-NBA player who can’t keep his hometown team of 26 years in town because he gambled on an ill-fated convergence plan? A city council that voted unanimously to give the Taylor/ICON group a 90 day window for a feasibility study when the NBA relocation date was 21 days away? Kings fans are not the only ones about to lose if the team skips town. This is crunch time folks. This is the moment where you either become great or you become the goat.
The Lakers’ new TV deal starts after next season. Anaheim will still have a building with no NBA team and Fox will still be waiting patiently for the Maloofs to sign their fat new television deal. Buy us a year. Buy us that last ditch effort. Buy us that year, break ground on a new Sports and Entertainment building in the rail yards and keep our Kings in Sacramento.
If this move is about money, then buy everyone involved time to make the money work here in Sacramento or face the economic, psychological and political fall-out that comes with failure.