Sports Blog: Stern Talks Of Cooling Off

By Frank Luna

It just goes to show that David Stern is who we thought he was.

Speaking to the Associated Press, the NBA Commissioner said it might be better for Sacramento officials and the Maloofs to go through a “cooling off” period. That’s all he wanted to say on the matter, but it speaks volumes about Stern’s character and maybe hidden desire to see a deal get done in the Capital City. As others have reported, and some have speculated, the Maloofs position that the deal doesn’t pencil out for them is not far from the truth.

After selling their lucrative beverage distribution business and divesting themselves of their interest in the Palms in Las Vegas, the Maloofs’ last remaining high-profile asset is the Sacramento Kings. With what they owe the city and the NBA, another loan from the league could put them in an untenable situation. Their 51 percent ownership already puts them in a upside-down position.

Leveraged to the hilt, the Maloofs may see their control of the Kings slipping away. And, as Mayor Kevin Johnson applies public pressure with his “Plan B” comments and apparent willingness to move on without the Maloofs, Stern, a good lawyer and master negotiator, knows when he sees an irresistible force heading towards an immovable object. His call for a cooling off period is not only good business, but perhaps a sign that round two of the arena saga is about to begin.

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