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.