A very rough day for NBA fans in Sacramento on Friday, as it appears the deal for a new arena in the city has unraveled. In a series of press conferences, Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, and NBA Commissioner David Stern gave their thoughts on the situation.
Sactown Royalty shared the gist of Johnson's presser, noting:
Mayor Johnson talked about how much the city of Sacramento has done, something also stated by David Stern in his press conference. The city got one year to form a feasible arena plan starting from last year's Board of Governor's meeting. The city did that, and the only ones balking at the deal in the end was not the city, not the NBA, and not AEG, but the Maloofs.
Without the Sacramento Kings as a major tenant contributing $75 million, the arena is pretty much dead in its tracks. On the Maloofs' statements today that they'd possibly be interested in renovating Power Balance Pavilion, Johnson said that if the Maloofs wanted to renovate the arena with private dollars, that was their prerogative. He found it ironic that the Maloofs would say that now after telling him a while ago that an arena renovation was not viable.
"What I learned today, is that sometimes people can change their minds."
Conversely, the Maloofs released a statement of their own, which was to another tune:
Despite best efforts to negotiate an agreement with the City of Sacramento, and at the conclusion of a meeting this afternoon with Mayor Johnson, he advised us that there is nothing to be gained by continued discussions at this time.
We are committed to remaining the Sacramento Kings.
We only received a non-binding term sheet regarding a complex $400 million transaction 8 days before the Mayor's deadline of March 1st. From the moment we received it, we expressed our serious concerns with many of the proposed terms and conditions. Even now, these concerns have yet to be addressed by the City.
The negotiations that have occurred surrounding, as Commissioner Stern said repeatedly today during his news conference a "non-binding framework", never resulted in a deal that was good for the City or good for the team.
We are going to continue to work hard building our exciting young nucleus into a play-off contending team that all Sacramento citizens will be proud of.
We want to thank our loyal fans.
We love Sacramento and we will continue all of our civic and charitable involvement that over the past 15 years has resulted in more than $20 million in cash and in-kind donations to more than 200 community organizations.
David Stern's statement landed somewhere in the middle of the argument, acknowledging that the Maloofs had every right to state their concerns, while admitting that the way they went about it left something to be desired.
"We had an agreement in principle, a framework, a deal. Call whatever you want," Stern said, "In my view, it was subject to any party who said didn't want to do it. Always non-binding. I think it's fair for Maloofs to say they didn't want to do it. If they did it a little earlier, a little simpler and a little more directly, it could have saved some angst."
With the blame game in full effect at the moment, it's tough to really know who's to blame and what the real story behind the stalled effort really is, but the bottom line was laid out by Kevin Johnson when he answered his own question:
"Is the deal as we know it dead? Absolutely."
More on this soon as the story develops.
For more on the Kings, head over to Sactown Royalty.