Tony Bizjak, Ryan Lillis and Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee continued their fine reporting, dropping this little tid bit on our door step this morning:
The Kings owners expressed appreciation for local businesses that have pledged $10 million in sponsorship support for next year, but also shared concerns about whether their finances can withstand several years of waiting for a new arena to be built, and whether Sacramento will be able to come up with an arena plan that is financially feasible, given past failures. NBA officials, in turn, told the Maloofs to stay in Sacramento.
The Bee’s Ailene Voisin, known to have a close relationship with members of the Maloof family, blogged about some of the possibilities this morning as well:
I also continue to hear that diverging opinions exist within the family – some wanting to sell, others determined to retain ownership even if that means returning to Sacramento and figuring out a way to handle the situation from a p.r. standpoint. Ultimately, this is Joe and Gavin’s deal.
This is the first we’ve heard that the Maloofs might consider selling, even if we don’t know who said it. With billionaire Ron Burkle waiting in the wings, there is no telling where this story will lead next, but a few questions need to be asked.
Can the Maloofs afford to be NBA owners any longer- whether in a small market or a big market? This is something that only Maloofs and their accountant can answer. I won’t venture a guess into their personal finances, but I have been told by a source that their family fortune is still intact. What that means is anyone’s guess.
These are questions the NBA needs to ask before they green light an extension in Sacramento. If the thought of losing the Sacramento fan base is powerful enough to block a move, then the thought of rotting it to the core with owners that have no interest in being part of the solution has to be considered.