Just six weeks after crying for the cameras and going on the record to say that they could make money under a negotiated arena deal that would keep the Kings in Sacramento, the Maloofs are apparently prepared to ask the NBA to begin renegotiating that deal with city officials. The Maloofs have balked at paying $3 million in pre-development fees to get the project rolling, and have used the media and a high-powered lawyer to question the city's ability to deliver an arena by 2015. The NBA stepped in last week to front a portion of the disputed money, but according to the Sacramento Bee the Maloofs have additional concerns about the deal and will ask NBA commissioner David Stern, who helped negotiate the deal, to go back into talks before they sign anything.
The deal announced at the end of All-Star Weekend in Orlando was a handshake deal on a term sheet. The city has claimed that the Maloofs didn't raise hackles about anything in the deal until March 20, almost a month after agreeing to the term sheet and three weeks after the Sacramento City Council approved it.
The Bee quotes experts who believe Stern will be unwilling to re-open talks, and may be affronted at the Maloofs' intransigence. Stern and the NBA took over the arena issue on behalf of the Maloofs in 2006 primarily because the owners' reputation had become so toxic in Sacramento. The path is familiar.