While fans wait for confirmation of yesterday’s LA Times article that the Sacramento Kings will indeed be back next season, a new question is being tossed around – will the fans welcome back the Maloof family or has that ship sailed?
The Associated Press quoted Joe Maloof as saying, “We’ve tried and tried again, in conjunction with city leaders and politicians and city leaders. I think the fans will definitely welcome us back because we’ve been fair. The question I always ask fans is, ‘What would you do?’ We’ve been honest.”
That’s pretty optimistic thinking from Joe, but not out of the realm of possibility.
What the Maloof family could do is accept their fate now, before the May 2nd deadline for relocation, and extend an olive branch to the fans, Mayor Johnson and the City of Sacramento. They could also go above and beyond by committing to not only jump in feet first with the Taylor/ICON group, but by committing to giving Sacramento more than just one, NBA mandated, soon to be lockout-shortened season to get this thing accomplished.
Arco Arena/Power Balance Pavilion is old and outdated, but until a new arena is built, the Maloof’s can do the basic maintenance that they have let lapse over the last three years. Basic things like replacing broken push button sink faucets that you wouldn’t find in a gas station bathroom or 100% working toilets – no more trash bag covered urinals or locked “out of order” stalls. Fans run down the stairs during timeouts and quarter breaks so they don’t miss a moment of action, why ask them to wait in line because of maintenance issues.
The Maloof’s could also do right by their long term employees. These poor people have been left in the dark for months, not knowing if they will have a job or not come seasons end. By “do right” I mean subsidize these people, even if there is a lock out. You know them, they are family, treat them with the respect that they have always treated you with.
After these concessions, they can take Mayor Johnson’s $10+ million in new corporate sponsorship money and make a splash in free agency. They can improve the product on the floor and put this team back on the NBA map, which will only help their attendance numbers and bottom line.
The people of Sacramento are good people. They have never turned their backs on the Kings or Maloof family, even as the product on the floor has diminished. Mayor Johnson and the City of Sacramento are going to need help selling the people on public financing. Having a lame duck team with the NBA’s lowest pay roll, playing in a rundown stadium, that just laid off hundreds of employees is not going to help that cause. Buy into the process again. Make this the last time you try to get a new sports and entertainment facility built here in Sacramento – not because you’ll leave if it doesn’t happen, but because once it’s built, you’ll never need another one.
Come back to Sacramento. Wear a Tyreke Evans jersey again and jump up and down on the sidelines just like every other fan- just like Joe and Gavin Maloof used to do. Do these things and the people will love you, just as they always have.