Hey there, Kings fans! How’s it going? Enjoying the roller coaster ride that is following the latest rumors on the fate of the team? One moment it seems you’ve dodged a bullet, the next you’re back in the cross-hairs. The team’s deal to move to a far away city falls apart, just for another city to swoop in and make an offer the Maloof’s can’t refuse. It’s been a confusing week here in Sacramento, and that confusion has been compounded by the coverage that tells a different tale depending on where it’s coming from.
Take for example the Sacramento Bee. Over the weekend, the local paper ran a story about a new local effort to purchase the Kings from the Maloof family, reportedly for a sum somewhere north of $400 million. The article isn’t short on specifics, but it does come up short in one department; a source who is willing to go on the record to support the claims. Instead, the meat of the entire article is credited to one anonymous source, who can’t or won’t provide any materials to reaffirm anything in the story. Also clouding the validity of the exposé is the cherry-picking of quotes which seem to support the idea that a new coalition is destiny-bound to save the day.
Here’s what the Bee ran from JMA Ventures, the new owners of the Downtown Plaza, which makes it sound like they’re ready to help the effort to buy the team:
JMA spokesman Jeff Nead confirmed the mall owner is interested in the arena project – and has been contacted by more than one investor group considering a bid for the Kings. He declined to identify any of the investors.
“They want to work toward saving the team,” Nead said. “JMA has been getting calls from a number of people.”
But just to be clear, here’s what JMA told KCRA in response to the Bee story:
In response to a published report that a group that includes the owner of Sacramento’s Downtown Plaza is proposing to buy the Sacramento Kings and build an arena on the Plaza site, a spokesman for Downtown Plaza Owner JMA Ventures told KCRA 3,
“At this time, it’s not part of any bid to buy the team.” A spokesperson for the San Francisco-based investment firm did confirm that JMA Ventures conducted a feasibility study when it purchased the plaza — about the possibility of building an arena at the site.
If you remember back when the 2012 Railyard Arena deal fell apart, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson toyed with the idea of building an arena without the support of the Maloof’s, only to realize that by doing so the family would be absolved of their obligation to repay a $77 million loan which the City is a co-signer on. That subsequently squashed “Arena Plan B”, and likely also lead JMA to realize that any arena construction on their newly acquired property would require the removal of the Maloof’s before becoming a reality.
Then there’s of Dale Carlsen, CEO of The Sleep Train, whose name has also been thrown into the ring as Sacramento’s potential savor. Carlsen was quick to downplay any idea that he could pony up the cash needed to keep the Kings in town:
“There’s already several investment groups interested and capable. I don’t need to get involved in that,” Carlsen said.
“It’s not going to be me writing the big check,” Carlsen said. “I’m not a billionaire, and I can’t step up and write a check for the Kings.”
“I’m not going to be the lead guy running this now,” he said. “I wish it could be me. I sell mattresses,” he added.