Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Kings are dead. Long live the Kings!

And so these old emotions are dragged up again. The air of inevitability lingers as it always has, with only the desperate hope that this time, once and for all, something will be settled.

Of course, the Maloof brothers - mercilessly at the center of this deeply sordid tale - will no doubt continue to squeeze every last ounce of joy out of an NBA franchise that was once such a pleasure to support. They will be waiting, grinning and greasy, at the seemingly inevitable bitter end.

To recap: Depending on whose sources you trust more, the MaGoofs are either a couple of signatures away from selling the Sacramento Kings to a group in Seattle that will uproot the team and move them north, or they have again backed out of a "handshake" commitment and are no closer to selling the team than they were when Jason Williams was dropping ridiculous behind-the-back dimes to Chris Webber in the glory days.

The smart money is on the first option, one that would net the Maloofs a tidy $500 million, give or take $25 million, and make the Kings the most expensive NBA franchise ever to be sold. (No way they deserve that title in their current state, but still.)

I know I am not alone in my deep ambivalence about these latest rumors. We've all accepted the fact that the Kings were on the move for years now. What is so awful is to have this process dragged out for so long and to see the Maloofs single-handedly disgrace the NBA while shitting all over a city that has done nothing but support their increasingly pathetic product.

I have nothing but love for the Kings, and I have no problem supporting them, even as they continue to play at the level of a mediocre Division II NCAA team. I've supported them through thick and thin, and I have only one particular reason to stop doing so - the aforementioned MaGoofs. They are despicable, disgusting. They exemplify everything that is wrong with professional sports. They are greedy and incompetent. They ran a casino that went bankrupt. How is that even possible? They are in debt to the NBA and the city of Sacramento to the tune of well over $100 million. It's not just that they're greedy fucks - they are incompetent, useless assholes, born with silver spoons, pissing away daddy's money. It seems to me that the only reason they haven't sold the Kings yet is because it's the only asset of value they have left.

It pretty much all started when the Maloofs unfairly (and, obviously, foolishly) forced out Rick Adelman, the best coach to ever sit on a Sacramento bench, and still one of my favorite coaches - of any team - of all time. The Kings made the playoffs every year he was there, and have not sniffed the postseason since. The situation has just bottomed out since then. Sure there are some good players on the roster, but it is so awkwardly put together that there is no semblance of a "team". They basically have three players in 12 bodies - a shoot-first, non-passing point guard, a non-shooter swingman, and an undersized power forward forced to play center. Individually there is a lot of talent. Together they are a (sleep) train wreck.
Stooges: the Maloof princes, who cares which is which

(One stat that seems to say it all: John Salmons averages 3.3 assist per game, the team's highest. Every other NBA team has at least one player on it averaging at least 4.4 assists. That is bad teamwork.)

And really, was there anything worse, more heartless or just outright ugly than what happened a year ago, with Joe and Gavin at center-court with Mayor Kevin Johnson, hands raised triumphantly at the news that an arena deal had been struck and the Kings would be in Sac for the next 30 years? Oh, right - a Maloof handshake is followed up by the classic pull-away, hand through hair... too cool! (That's via someone on Twitter whom I can't remember, but spot on.) Dicks.

All hope is not lost. Put Geoff Petrie out of his misery, hire a real GM, and overhaul the team. It'll be a painful few years (no more so than the last 10), but there are assets that can be turned around in the right hands (provided there are owners willing to expend the effort). Any future success, though, is predicated on the Maloofs getting the fuck out of the picture and starting from scratch.

Sadly, that future may well be in Seattle. That city got totally screwed out of their team, and I ache for them. But to 'steal' another city's team to make up for past wrongs just feels dirty. Seattle should get theirs, but they should not get ours.

On the other hand, what if the Kings did move? The truth is that back in 1985 Sacramento 'stole' the team from Kansas City, which had 'stolen' the team from Cincinnati before that. In fact, if the Kings move to King County in Washington, they will become the most nomadic franchise is US sports history. Cold comfort perhaps, but it makes me think I still might support them if they were in Seattle. (That would not be the case in Anaheim or Virginia Beach, however.)

Whatever the case, it's pretty clear that the best choice is staying in Sacramento (not that I expect the Maloofs to make the best choice). The city and the fans are doing everything they can to hold on, and more power to them. There is, of course, the Change.org petition that was put out moments after news of the move to Seattle broke last week. Please sign it here. There is also a campaign to get as many people and businesses signed up for season tickets and sponsorship for coming seasons. According to Cowbell Kingdom, that group has already raised almost $4 million in promises if the Kings stay. Cowbell Kingdom is also reporting that the NBA has given Sacramento a chance to counter any offer made by Seattle. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens...

Whatever happens, it's already been too much, and the emotional culmination has already occurred. Everyone has seen it, but it's always worth watching again (below). I will be stoked if the Kings manage to stay in Sac, but it will be subdued joy. I have already grieved, I have already rejoiced. The Maloofs have zapped my passion, and that is the greatest sin of all. The best thing about this whole ordeal, whether it ends in Seattle or in downtown Sac or at the railyards, is that the Maloofs will be out of the NBA for good and we will never have to think about those disgusting douchebags again.

1 comment:

Frink said...

...of course I agree with you. Funny thing is, I just pulled up the Grant and Jerry clip the other night. Still makes me... shit, must have something in my eye.