Maloofs Now Own Just 2 Percent Of Palms, Putting Kings' Finances In Question

Earlier this week, the Sacramento Bee and Wall Street Journal reported that the Maloof family, who own the Sacramento Kings, had lost majority control of the popular Palms Resort on the Las Vegas strip. The Journal quoted George Maloof as saying the family had gone from controlling an 85 percent interest in the Palms to a 10-20 percent interest.

But the Bee's Dale Kasler reports that, via regulatory documents in Nevada, the Maloofs actually own just 2 percent of the resort after two firms bought up the family's debt on the casino and hotel. Maloof told Kasler that the family has a buyback option that could take their interest up to 10-20 percent.

The Kings had the NBA's lowest payroll in 2010-11, sitting on the cusp of the league's salary floor. The explanation was that the team was waiting on a new collective bargaining agreement that would shrink future salaries and limit contract lengths. The Maloofs attempted began the process to move the team to Anaheim, but were rebuffed by the NBA and eventually agreed to remain in Sacramento for at least one more year while the league works with Sacramento civic and business officials on a new arena.

The Maloofs continually maintain that they are in good financial shape. Two years ago, they sold what was the original family business: a major beer distributorship in New Mexico. They also shuttered the WNBA's Sacramento Monarchs. The loss of the Palms leaves the Kings as their only major business. They are also major shareholders in Wells Fargo, an assumed moneymaker.

Billionaire Ron Burkle in April suggested he'd be willing to buy the Kings and keep them in Sacramento. The Maloofs publicly rebuffed his suggestion. Burkle's advisor Darius Anderson is on the commission working under Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson to find funding for a new arena.

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