DEMAIN EVENT: There could be one last hope for the worst owners in sports
If you have no interest in the Sacramento Kings moving to Seattle, then I won't waste your time, this column isn't for you.
I've shed my stories of growing up in Sacramento as a baby blue, die-hard fan before, so I'll save you the over-dramatic laments on the Maloofs ruining the city in various ways.
Let's move on — not literally.
So the Maloofs, blah, blah, blah ...
Here's the deal, guys: All of this Kings sale jibber-jab is saddening, but the deal has quite a few hurdles to jump before finalizing.
For those of you who do have a little passion in your heart for the beloved (well, once beloved) Kings, there's no need to panic, at least not yet.
In the midst of reading optimistic to grim stories about the Kings moving to Seattle, it dawned on me — the Maloofs, blah, blah, blah.
While Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson may slam the podium, deliver endearing words to the city about his devotion and rile up the crowds with potential energy, unfortunately he really can't do a whole lot.
Bottom line: The sale is the Maloofs' decision.
Last week, hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen offered $500 million for the Sacramento Kings — a team that's worth around $300 million. Ludicrous? Yes. But, ultimately, his legacy of bringing a team back to Seattle is likely worth it.
I get it. And if I were the Maloofs, I would certainly jump at this opportunity. When you're bleeding as much money as these guys are right now — you can sit seven rows up from the Kings' bench for $20 — receiving two-thirds more than the value of your bleak investment is a dream come true.
But hold it right there.
What if the Maloofs were smart enough to re-invest, save their reputation and earn possibly more revenue in the future?
Over the weekend, a group of wealthy investors brought a proposal to the table, and it appears it's everything the Maloofs "said" they wanted a few years back — a $400 million arena in the Downtown Plaza.
But these semi-local investors also want to bid on the rights to the team.
There are a few options to consider here if you're the Maloofs.
The Maloofs could get out now, fatten their Wells Fargo bank account and move forward with the Chris Hansen transaction, and the Kings would eventually be the Super Sonics? Or the Maloofs could listen to the would-be heroes of Sacramento, give the NorCal guys a shot, and as a result save face in doing so.
But what about this option: Repairing the dysfunctional relationship with people of the Sacramento region and becoming the lovable "Magoofs" we once remembered.
If the wealthy investors, which include the new owner of the Downtown Plaza site, put their money where their mouth is and build an arena, the Maloofs could potentially hold onto the team.
Yes, I'm proposing that there is one last hope for ESPN's worst owners in all of sports.
By shaking hands with the local guys, committing to the arena deal and attempting to put a winning product back on the floor, a simple halftime apology with the mic to the Kings faithful might make the cows come home.
Hey, it's an option.
Lastly, in all of this is a couple of other wrinkles to remember.
First, any sale must be approved by David Stern and the NBA Board of Governors, and if I'm the Maloofs, I wouldn't necessarily count on it.
Stern isn't exactly in the Maloofs corner right now, especially after they backed out of the initial arena deal that was approved last year.
Second, there is a wild card at play here — billionaire tycoon Ron Burkle.
Burkle tried to buy the team two years ago when the Maloofs were considering the Anaheim move, and was "angrily" turned down.
Burkle still maintains a relationship with Mayor Johnson and has remained interested as a buyer.
So the decision is the Maloofs. If they're simply in it for the money, then a bidding war between Hansen and Burkle would be optimal, in which case, Kings fans would be on the side of Burkle.
But the Maloofs could still repair some damage by staying in Sacramento and working with the new proposal offered up this weekend.
The only question is, are they smart enough to realize that they could slowly shed their dopey image and poor legacy by staying in Sacramento? Probably not.