There is plenty more from George Maloof in tomorrow's Bee, but here are a few other additional topics that I found interesting. I will start by saying how surprised I was by his attitude; he no longer sounded like someone seething about the NBA/owners' refusal to endorse the Kings' attempted relocation to Anaheim two months ago. After spending more than an hour with him at the Palms Casino - of which the family recently relinquished controlling interest to elminate their debt - I came away thinking that the Maloofs never really change. Say what you want - and anyone who aspires to own a professional franchise has to be more than a little eccentric - but the Maloofs are a transparent, straightforward bunch. They don't keep secrets well.
So back to George, who will oversee all future arena discussions for the family, and who strikes me as genuinely determined to getting something done in Sacramento. Maybe that's because the league doesn't (a) want to give up this market (remember Seattle), (b) doesn't want a third team in southern California and (c) is intent on securing substantial revenue sharing relief for small market owners in the new collective bargaining agreement? Who knows what's in the heart? Then there's the fact the Maloofs only own two percent of the Palms, with an option to purchase 20 percent in the future. In other words, the Kings rule.
Or let's just say, these circumstances and these Maloofs remind me of the Maloofs who bought majority interest in the Kings in 1999 and immediately (and successfully) began wooing the community. We are talking fullblown love affair, folks. They were attentive, eager, engaged, and committed to putting a winning product on the court. (The Palms, by the way, was a blueprint at the time). That entire concept - a winning product on the court - is huge here. There will be plenty more to say about that in the future. Meantime, a few other leftovers from a recent, typically blistering Las Vegas afternoon with George:
* On the ongoing attempts to secure financing for a sports/entertainment complex in Sacramento: "I don't think we have ever been involved this intimately, on a daily basis. I think the community is doing a great job, and the mayor (Kevin Johnson) has been incredible. We had to have somebody there to to take the lead politically. Everybody's trying, so if everybody's trying, something good can happen. I'm more confident that at any time in the past. We all want to make it happen."
* On the alleged family feud about whether to file for relocation or remain in Sac: "We never lost our cool (laugh), never started yelling or anything. But it was hard, because we were torn. Adrienne, Phil, we all had our say. (Matriarch) Colleen was on the fence. We just were so concerned about making the right decision. And I think we have."
* On failed ballot Measures Q & R in 2006: "We never had a chance. That never should have gone to the ballot. It wasn't ready. And the main thing is, when you're negotiating something, you can't negotiate in public, and too much of that was public. You're sitting across a table from somebody, trying to do your best, they're trying to do their best, and things are said publicly and get misunderstood. It was strange. It was put together way too fast. And you can't play this stuff out in the media. It never works."
* On the downtown location: "Hey, I think Natomas is great. That's my opinion. We've got everything there. The off-ramps, the parking. It's the most natural location. Everybody is used to going there. But I also understand the downtown concept, I totally get that. Whatever works."
* On his sister Adrienne's role in the television series, "Housewives of Beverly Hills": I begged her not to do it. 'Don't go on, don't go on.' It's a reality show, and all that. We were all trying to protect her. She says, 'I'm going to do it.' And now I think it's great. She's terrific. She and Paul (husband, Dr. Paul Nassif) are totally themselves. It's all real ... we can't wait for the next season."
* On the current status of arena discussions: "I'm waiting to hear from ICON, sometime in the near future. I've been to Sacramento three times already. I just fly in and fly out, because I can't stay away from the Palms too long. it's 24/7. I have to be here. But when there's important stuff, I'll be there. And my brothers (Joe and Gavin) are there all the time now."