Kings move rumors start flying: Anaheim? San Jose? Cucamonga?

With the latest batch of Sacramento Kings arena plans seemingly going nowhere, Orange County Register sports columnist Randy Youngman is starting up the Anaheim move rumors:

The relocation rumors revved up again Friday when Bloomberg News Service reported that two private investment firms are negotiating to acquire a controlling interest in the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, also owned by the Maloofs, after the family violated its loan covenants.

If the Maloofs are having significant financial problems — the Sacramento Bee reports that in 2009 the family sold its original beer distributorship in New Mexico for more than $100 million and that there also were staff layoffs in the Kings organization and at The Palms — then perhaps there is a greater sense of urgency to move the franchise to a market with better demographics, more potential corporate sponsors and an NBA-ready arena.

That’s where Anaheim comes in. If the Maloofs decide to move the Kings — or are forced to sell a team struggling on the court (NBA-worst 8-25 record) and struggling at the gate (29th out of 30 in home attendance) — Anaheim and San Jose are believed to be the most likely destinations because they both have NBA-quality arenas and waiting billionaires to help them overcome financial obstacles.

Well, maybe. Except that Anaheim and San Jose also both have hockey teams that are the primary tenants, and they’re not going to give the Kings the kind of sweetheart lease that they’d want, assigning them all the arena revenues and as few of the costs as possible. Unless the Maloofs are really strapped for cash, it seems like it would make sense for them to at least wait for this latest round of arena proposals to run its course, on the off change they’d land the golden ticket — if not, there’ll be plenty of time to move to Anaheim after the lockout.

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18 comments on “Kings move rumors start flying: Anaheim? San Jose? Cucamonga?

  1. The Kentucky Kings playing home games at the KFC Yum! Center sounds less and less absurd, don’t you think?

    …although I think Kansas City or even Austin, TX might be more savory markets, or at least less problematic.

  2. The Kings could have the Minot pro sports market all to themselves… I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’…

  3. The Maloof Family will sell this team. All this credit they’re taking for a team and they’ll sell. Don’t be surprised if the NBA buys the Kings too. Then they’ll be in the driver seat for the CBA discussions because they’ll have the 2 teams they need to contract if they don’t get their way. But the NBA has owners that want teams in Gary Chouset and Larry Ellison. If I’m the players I try to call their bluff.

  4. Either way, NBA or new ownership purchase, I’d say it’s a safe bet the Kings are on their way out of Sacramento.

  5. One problem with the current ownership is that not only does it not have enough money for a 20% stake in a new Sacramento arena, it probably doesn’t have enough for a 10% stake either. At that point, the Council puts on the brakes, and they’re done.

    Then the Maloofs can look the public in the eye and say, “Well, we tried, it just didn’t work.” At the same time, they’ll blame people like me, even though all I did was join the 80% who voted against Q&R. The public didn’t want it, stop blaming us.

    I think Larry Ellison has to emerge now. He’s been rebuffed twice, and Sacramento’s not that far from the Bay area. I could even see him buying the team, doing something about the historically-bad Kings front-office, spending money on players, and rebuilding fan interest in Sac… And after a 3 year stint, deciding to stay.

    If the league or someone other than Ellison buys the Kings, you can turn out the lights in Sac.

    By the way: Anaheim? I can summarize that in one word: Nope.

  6. One problem with the current ownership is that not only does it not have enough money for a 20% stake in a new Sacramento arena, it probably doesn’t have enough for a 10% stake either. At that point, the Council puts on the brakes, and they’re done.

    Then the Maloofs can look the public in the eye and say, “Well, we tried, it just didn’t work.” At the same time, they’ll blame people like me, even though all I did was join the 80% who voted against Q&R. The public didn’t want it, stop blaming us.

    I think Larry Ellison has to emerge now. He’s been rebuffed twice, and Sacramento’s not that far from the Bay area. I could even see him buying the team, doing something about the historically-bad Kings front-office, spending money on players, and rebuilding fan interest in Sac… And after a 3 year stint, deciding to stay.

    If the league or someone other than Ellison buys the Kings, you can turn out the lights in Sac.

    By the way: Anaheim? I can summarize that in one word: Nope.

  7. Mike, I can see Ellison buying them, assuming the NBA lets him (they have rebuffed him twice already). But the problem is I don’t see him leaving them in Sac either. He’ll explore moving them to San Jose or his ideal location, south of Pac Bell Park in a partnership with the Giants.

  8. Why would Ellison want to buy the Sacramento Kings in the first place? That would be a horrible investment decision on his part. Better for the league to take over the team and move it to a more hospitable community like Pittsburgh or St Louis. The Kings don’t have to remain in California is my point. Three franchises in the LA area would be absurd.

  9. The Sacramento market doesn’t have the number of corporate luxury box buyers that other cities have. The citizenry (on right, middle, and left# is not interested in subsidizing an arena that will offer tickets that most of us can’t afford. As a Democrat, I have friends on the other side of the aisle that would join me in fighting any future subsidies. On top of that, the team has played poorly #despite a few promising young players) in the last few years. Mix this in a stew- and it smells like their days are numbered in Sactown. It could be a real embarrassment for a Mayor who’s made his name in the NBA.

  10. The Sacramento market doesn’t have the number of corporate luxury box buyers that other cities have. The citizenry (on right, middle, and left# is not interested in subsidizing an arena that will offer tickets that most of us can’t afford. As a Democrat, I have friends on the other side of the aisle that would join me in fighting any future subsidies. On top of that, the team has played poorly #despite a few promising young players) in the last few years. Mix this in a stew- and it smells like their days are numbered in Sactown. It could be a real embarrassment for a Mayor who’s made his name in the NBA.

  11. According to a Fox 40 news report, the Maloofs are no longer saying they won’t move the team.

    Yeah, I understand the whole left-center-right argument. I can’t think of a partisan politician who thinks this will be good for him/her and his/her constituents. The City has less to spend on this than they did; the Maloofs have less money to spend on this than they did; and Sacramento still doesn’t have enough corporate presence. If anything, the climate now is way worse for this than it was in 2006.

    In short, there are plenty of detractors, and maybe only a few supporters (the Maloofs, KJ, and… That’s all I got#.

    When you add the Maloof money woes to the equation, I think the Council can’t find a way through. I’d bet the Kings are for sale right now.

    I mean, heck, we didn’t find out the Maloofs were buying the team until after they bought it.

    There are reports of a new signage rights deal in the offing, but those are much easier to get out of than an arena deal is to create.

    In spite of this, I still don’t think Ellison would immediately move the team. I know he ultimately wants to move a team to SF, but moving to SJ while an arena in SF was being built would add to the costs of buying a team #would the NBA charge for first moving to SJ, then SF? They might). The Kings would remain in Sac until an arena in SF was ready.

    It’s possible that a 3-4 year delay in SF would cause Ellison to change his plans.

  12. Why not Kansas City? I relaize that the folks at Sprint Center haven’t said Simon Says or whatever bs they’re using to lure teams these days but still…

  13. Marty, as I understand it, KC isn’t the “sort” of city the Maloofs want. But frankly… Sacramento, KC, what’s the difference? I doubt that KC’s politics are much different from Sac’s; I don’t see using politics as a reason one way or another anyway.

    The biggest factors should be market size, corporate presence and arena. That’s 2 out of 3 for KC, for sure. And I’m not even sure about Sac being the larger market.

    I’ve argued for KC for quite some time. It makes me wonder if KC hasn’t already said “No thanks” to the Maloofs.

  14. Arco Arena will now be Power Balance Pavilion!

    No. Really. I’m not making that up.

    www.sacbee.com/2011/01/11/3316823/arco-arena-to-be-renamed-after.html

    The end for the Kings in Sacramento is definitely near. Naming rights to a company that has admitted their product is a scam? Just… Wow.

  15. And… Here we go:

    www.slamonline.com/online/blogs/2011/01/kings-to-anaheim-details-on-a-proposed-plan/

    Before you ask, yes, KFBK is a credible source.

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