Sacramento business leaders are asking NBA Commissioner David Stern and league owners to "strongly encourage" the Maloof family to sell the Kings so a deal for a new arena can proceed.In a letter signed by about two dozen of Sacramento's most powerful businesses leaders and sent to Stern on Thursday, the group accuses Kings owners Joe, Gavin and George Maloof of not negotiating in good faith. It also questions whether the Maloofs have the finances - and motivation - to keep the team in Sacramento."We feel it is time for the Maloofs to sell their ownership of the franchise, for the good of the city and in the interest of advancing Sacramento's effort to build a downtown arena," a portion of the letter reads. "The city, the fans and the NBA deserve and require an ownership group that is fully committed to being a good-faith constructive participant in the arena process."And we deserve an ownership group that is not only committed to the long-term viability of the franchise in this region but also one that has the wherewithal to make it a thriving, competitive organization."The timing of the letter was no accident.The Maloofs were giving an update on the project to the NBA Board of Governors during its annual spring meeting in New York. It was exactly a year ago when Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the city's business leaders convinced owners - along with presenting more than 10 million of new sponsorship and ticket sales for this season - at the same Manhattan hotel to keep the Kings in Sacramento instead of moving to Anaheim, Calif.Family spokesman Eric Rose said the Maloofs are "saddened and disappointed" by the letter. He said the Maloofs are not selling the team and are committed to help fund the estimated 391 million arena, which would open for the 2015-16 season, pending final approval of the non-binding agreement the City Council already passed."We share in the community's frustration on forging a workable agreement on what is ultimately a 400 million transaction that will impact the region for many years to come," Rose said in a statement. "However, we must all remember what is at stake in the development of a new arena in Sacramento, and must insure the agreement works for all parties involved, and most importantly, the residents of the City."Sacramento's place on the NBA map seemed secured only a few weeks ago.Under the non-binding term sheet, Sacramento will contribute 255.5 million, mostly by leasing out parking garages around the facility. The Kings agreed to pay 73.25 million and arena operator AEG will contribute 58.75 million. The remaining gap will be covered by a ticket surcharge, advertising around the facility, the sale of public lands and a sponsorship campaign to sell bricks and plaques around the complex.The biggest sticking point has been a dispute over environmental and predevelopment costs.Under the term sheet, the Kings and arena operator AEG each were to pay about 3.25 million in pre-development costs with the city paying the remaining 6.5 million. George Maloof said in a phone interview that he does not believe the team should pay 3.25 million in pre-development costs because they're "playing the role of the tenant."The NBA, which helped broker the deal, agreed to pay about 200,000 to cover the initial costs and keep the project on schedule. Whether the rest will be covered - and who will cover it - was among the items expected to be discussed this week in New York during two days of meetings, which end Friday.Sacramento city officials are not attending the meetings. Johnson has said the city has done its part and it's up to the Kings and the NBA to resolve the issue.
Former Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is in trouble with the league office again.
The NBA fined the Pelicans big man $25,000 for "directing inappropriate language towards a fan" during the final minutes of the team's season opener on Wednesday night against the Grizzlies.
The referee's heard the exchange between Cousins and the fan, and assessed a technical foul to Cousins. That technical foul was rescinded as part of the league's announcement Saturday.
After Wednesday's game, Cousins offered this explanation of the incident:
"That was pretty bogus, man. The ref, he sat there and heard (the fan) speaking to me in a very nasty way. I shouldn't have responded to it, but I'm a human being and I'm also a grown man. I'm not going to let another person just disrespect me. I felt (the ref) should have handled it, he decided not to, but he handled my end of it. I look forward to speaking to the league," Cousins told reporters, according to USA Today.
Cousins makes his first trip back to Sacramento since being traded by the Kings on Thursday, Oct. 26.
With a win over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night, the Sacramento Kings are feeling good heading into their first back-to-back on Saturday. They’ll face a Denver Nuggets team that lost their season opener to the Utah Jazz and is looking for their first victory of the season.
The combination of George Hill and De’Aaron Fox at the point guard position was too much for Dallas to handle on Friday. Hill poured in 21 points, including two huge shots down the stretch and Fox came away with his first 10-assist game of his career.
Denver added veteran Paul Millsap in the offseason to match with rising star Nikola Jokic. Jokic struggled in the opener, but still managed to post seven points, eight assists and 12 rebounds. The Kings will have their hands full trying to slow the 7-footer.
Nuggets by 11
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Nikola Jokic -- Cauley-Stein has posted back-to-back double-doubles to start the season and comes in averaging 15.5 points, 10.5 rebound and two blocks in 29 minutes per game. Jokic is one of the more versatile bigs in the game. He picks and chooses his spots to score, but his passing ability makes him a dangerous player.
WHERE THEY STAND:
Kings: SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (right ankle sprain) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out
Nuggets: No injuries to report
These two teams split the season series last year and hold an identical 86-86 record against each other all-time. The Kings lead the Nuggets 65-63 during the Sacramento-era.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
MORE TIME FOR FOX - The Kings speedy young guard is showing that he’s ready to carry more of the load. In his first game, he posted 14 points and five assists. In Game Two, he set up his teammates for a team-high 10 assists while adding nine points and six rebounds. He’s averaged 25 minutes a game in the first two, but his play is already commanding more.
GIVING BUDDY SOME LOVE - Lost in the shuffle of the team’s first win was an nice all-around performance from Buddy Hield. The second-year guard was one of eight Kings to grab five rebounds or more against the Mavs, but Hield’s late board in traffic was probably the play of the night. If he can post more 13 point, six rebound, three assist games early in the season, he’ll find himself on the court more often than not.
MORE FROM SKAL NEEDED - Skal Labissiere has all the potential in the world, but he’s off to a quiet start through two contests. He needs to be more aggressive calling for the ball and continue to hit the glass hard. He’s averaging 10 points and 7.5 rebounds in 23 minutes per game, but one of those came with Zach Randolph on the shelf. He’ll need to earn minutes like everyone else on this team.
“My coach has that much confidence in me, a 19-year-old kid to stay on the floor in crunch time, and when he has that confidence in me, my confidence goes up that much more.” -De’Aaron Fox on coach Dave Joerger sticking with him down the stretch in the Kings’ first win.