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David Stern 'More Hopeful Than Confident' In Sacramento Arena Deal

The Sacramento Kings are, once again, in a critical stretch as the city and team ownership work to figure out a way to piece together a new arena deal. The All-Star weekend agreement was nice, but by no means the end of the road as Sacramento fights to keep its team. And now, with the Maloof brothers apparently balking, the deal is once again up in the air.

How critical are things right now? On Wednesday, David Stern had this to say when speaking to reporters in Salt Lake City (from Brian Smith of the Salt Lake City Tribune):

You know, I'm more hopeful than I am confident right now. I'm hopeful because the city of Sacramento has between last meeting and this, has been responsible for responding on a sponsorship basis, on a ticket basis and on allocating $250 million or so for a new arena. In basically a week - what's today? Wednesday - in a week, our owners will be coming in for meetings next Thursday and next Friday, and we'll be having the Maloofs in to talk with some group of them and we'll see where it's going. Very, very hopeful that it gets on track, because the owners have a respect for the Maloofs.

By no means is a deal dead, and this doesn't mean the Kings will shuttle off to wherever. But this is a critical phase for the team, and it all falls into the lap of the Maloofs.

As Tom Ziller wrote Wednesday, it's time for the Maloofs to "Pony Up or GTFO," in the eyes of Kings fans.