For a lot of Kings fans, support of the team at the moment is not only the issue, but the absolutely imperative first last and only question.
Should you buy season tickets? That's up to each individual to determine for themselves. But don't kid yourselves: You're not starving the Maloofs revenue. It won't make that much difference for the Maloof family because they simply don't have any liquidity in their businesses (especially if it's true that they own 43% of the Kings--big up's to James Ham if that's indeed true--and for what it's worth I'm betting it is) .
The better question is the treatment of the Maloofs. The Maloofs had Sac County Sheriffs (they usually don't), and the typical security around them when they were in their suite. One fan pointed this out last night on his Twitter account. That goes without saying: The Maloofs were afraid of fan reprisal. So someone took action even if it was probably unnecessary. A good show of force ensures that little, if nothing, will happen.
My question: The Sheriffs will not be around the Maloofs all the time moving forward. My hope is that the fans leave the Maloofs and respond to anything they say with the most powerful voice they can display (besides the wallet): Don't listen to the Maloofs. Become tune deaf to them. Ignore them. Mess around on your phone, stare at the Kings dancers boobies, I don't care what you do, but just ignore the Maloofs. That's the most powerful argument you can display to their public pleas. They are looking for public support, and all the boo's i n the world will only ensure that Sacramento hates them. While thie last sentence is certainly true, and, the Sacramento world has completely turned on the Maloof family in every way (read the amusing Chris Lehane response sent to Think Big Sacramento on Sunday; that's some classic stuff there), the truth is that the Maloof family is not the important audience here. The Maloofs no longer matter. When the Family turned down a 67 million loan from the NBA, and 7 million in free NBA money to boot, and did so with a laundry list of complaints so ludicrious that it's hard to imagine that the economist, lawyer or whoever did that did so with a straight face, that's when you know the Maloofs no longer matter. They know their investment has dwarfed the real purchase price.
I've never seen a more ridiculous amount of horseshit in once place. Unless of course you're talking about a horse farm. Tom Ziller at Sactown Royalty did an excellent job of debunking a lot of this already. Just read the response from Eric Rose that Ken Berger posted on his piece at CBSSports.com. That's again the mark of desperation; Lehane came from Goldman Sachs which has screwed the world over and thus the arena will be terrible because Chris Lehane worked at Goldman Sachs. Or did spokesman work for California during the utility crisis. Right. Even though I think Goldman Sachs should be burned down to the ground (and many of it's top exec's jailed), but even I can see how ridiculous of a strawman argument that is. THAT IS EXACTLY WHY THE MALOOFS HAVE NO SAY IN THIS ARENA, SACRAMENTO KINGS DISCUSSION, OR ANYTHING SACRAMENTO RELATED.
On the other hand, the other NBA owners are watching Sacramento here. That's important yes? If Sacramento goes out of it's way to villify the Maloof family (who are godawful village idiots no doubt), a lot of fans and people will be missing the point. It's not about the Maloof family; it never really was. They just own more shares of the Kings than anyone else. Which means with the Board of Governors the Maloofs have more power than, say, Bob Cook. However, that all being said, the power here is illustrating that the Kings faithful, particularly in Sacramento right now, show up and still care about the team. One devil isn't that much different than the other; Ron Burkle might be a great new owner because he stays out of the spotlight and will spend some money. (It's hard to spend than the Maloofs have spent. Donald Sterling come on down....) That said, fans will eventually tire of having a majority owner who is never around to be accountable. Fans are emotional and demanding; it's good in times when you have dumbshit children of a genius thinking they are geniuses too. It's not so swell in times when an owner has a plan and is smart enough to let the anger be what it is.
The NBA cares about Sacramento's response because, and Sunday illustrated it, the games still matter yes? Name a Kings fan that wasn't relieved to see Marcus Thornton hit that 15 footer, especially after Garcia screwed up paying attention on a guy who was 7-9 from 3 at that point, and you're not a Kings fan. We are all relieved the Kings won. We hate the losing, we hate the owners, and we are tired of the very frustrating fashion the Kings have exhibited on the court this year. Throw in the Maloofs and the anger was all there for something very bad. It never came to that. Not even close. There was just a few chants of sell, but that was pretty early on. When it came to be a real game, Kings fans (even the few changing "sell") stepped up. The players and Keith Smart all said as much. Some of it was lip service, but some of that was also genuine. When you are a player or head coach, what can you really say other than you have the best fans in the NBA and we always love them? It's a zero sum game at the very best, and the truth is not one almost anyone wants to hear. Players, head coaches, and team executives know this better than anybody because they are often the ambassadors of their particular franchise whether they like it or not. Like it or not, with all the frustrations around this franchise, the Maloofs are the handiest and easiest target. Don't let yourself get sucked into that.
THAT is what needs to happen. Ignore the Maloofs, cheer on the team in whatever manner you feel comfortable, and basically go about your day. Just assume the Maloofs are selling the Kings, or their 43%, and assume their liquidity is such that they cannot continue to hold on the team long term. Take it as a fact because it is regardless of what they say in public or maintain. The Family maintained for a long time that their businesses were fine, and now the Maloofs own 2% of the Palms. That's not fine any way you slice it.
Hate, love, or whatever you want about the Maloofs. If you want the Kings to stay, go to the games, buy concessions, or whatever you typically do. Because if you don't, you're not really hurting the Maloofs; you're hurting the concessionaires because the Maloofs will simply lay off those workers when there is no need. That is how workers get paid; they get paid to provide a service to their employer at a cost less than what it would for the employer to do it themselves. (Like, duh?)
I think a lot of fans are forgetting a lot of things because they are angry at the Maloofs for, well, being them. And that's fine that you are upset at the Maloofs. I don't like them, and I never did. But there are only 2 things I care about with regards to ownership: Let basketball management run things, and spend money where, when and how it's necessary.
Now that's a complicated discussion (one I have nor the time or interest in delving into at the moment) in of itself about how much money should the Maloofs spent on the roster and should Geoff Petrie retain long term status as running the basketball operation.
All you're going to end up doing, and I have experience in this, is deprive yourself of the experience you would have had if you wanted to do something but didn't because you hated a particular element (in this case ownership). I did that very thng during the Seattle Sonics last season here, and the first time I had the opportunity to experience NBA basketball in Seattle, which also turned out to be my last. I assumed, naively, that Clay Bennett would sell the Sonics eventually and the Sonics would stay in Seattle. Now, some of that was me being silly about the whole thing in actuality too, but that's just a part of this whole thing. Had I really actually wanted to (and I did actually) go to a game or two, I should have. Clay Bennett shouldn't have, but did, factored in. Now, it's likely that I'll have to wait until the end of the decade to see a game up here. Or, drive down to Portland, or go to California to see a NBA game. It's true I would miss going to see the Kings when they came up to Seattle, but ultimately that's out of my control. I can tell you I still regret not having been at the game when Kevin Martin did this:
Essentially what I'm saying is, the easiest way to show you care is to still care. Take emotion, and the Maloofs, away, and you still got the time than many have rooted since arrival in 1985. Longtime readers know my tagline from the old site: Screwin' suckaz over since 1985. It's meant to annotate a lot of things, but one is the Kings fans for remaining fans of a bad team. We're suckaz, and we're used to bad. Live through it, and the next (hopefully) great era is upon us. Can't get to tomorrow, though, without today, and it behooves all of us to remember that.
Nate, good post and not surprisingly I agree with all of it. All groups tend to be tribal and tend to support their own and believe this would include the owners on the BoG as well. The worse we treat the Maloofs the worse it will reflect on Sacramento and as hard as it seems to believe now could actually turn them into something close to sympathetic figures. Fans should continue to support the team next season and if the fans in Sac are thought of as the most respectful in the league, good for us. In the end all the anger and lack of team support will turn the league against Sac fans faster than anything else. This story is not over, the end is not written, keep the faith that the Maloofs are self destructive and will ultimately hang themselves if given enough rope.