The deal to construct a new arena at the Downtown Railyards has seemed to have died twice now in the public eye; once in New York after talks fell apart at the NBA Board of Governors meeting, and again last week in Sacramento when last minute attempts to revive the deal proved to be fruitless. But a new report on the USA Today website seems to suggest that new plans to build something to keep the Sacramento Kings in town may be looming just over the horizon, if George Maloof is to be believed.
“The way I look at negotiations is it can always come back. You never say never. These things are never final. Trust me,” George Maloof tells USA TODAY. “I’ve been around enough negotiating over the last 30 years of my life to know that deals die and they come back. Somebody sleeps on it, they take a break and they say, ‘You know what, maybe we consider this. … ‘
“It’s a way of coming back as long as people don’t give up. And I never give up. We’ll never give up.”
The same article states that Mayor Kevin Johnson intends to reveal his “Plan B” for moving ahead with some sort of new Downtown arena in just over a week. This revised proposal will likely be a scaled down version of what was originally envisioned and without the Kings as the anchor tenant. Several questions remain about the viability of this “Plan B”; for one, will it allow the Kings owners to walk away from their outstanding loan to the city as some have suggested, and can a publicly funded arena truly make money for the city without the Kings? Kansas City’s redevelopment around the team-less Sprint Center has often been used as an example by the mayor’s staff as a good way to build an arena without the Kings. However, a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal states that the financial benefits of entire project was widely over-hyped before its construction, and has since become an albatross that hangs over the neck of the city’s budget to the tune of nearly $13 million a year.
In any case, the arena, while motionless and devoid of breath at this very moment, may still rise back to life again soon…