Thursday, December 3, 2009
Counting the day that we first heard the news, it's been two weeks since the Maloofs announced suddenly - and surprisingly - that they were folding the team. This left the final fate of the Sacramento Monarchs in limbo. The hope has been - and remains - that the team can find a landing place somewhere in California .
We now have some news from Mel Greenburg of the Philadelphia Inquiry - the granddaddy of women's hoops reporting.
Sometime in the next 24-48 hours (it's 4:30 a.m. in the East) the ultimate fate of the Sacramento Monarchs may be revealed, though it could take a little longer depending on ongoing developments involving the franchise in the land of tremors.
In the most recent episode of the 2005 league champions (missing banners from the Arco Arena aside), the Maloof family had decided to jettison the WNBA sister of the Sacramento Kings to focus more on their NBA property and the WNBA announced negotiations were going on with unidentified persons to move the Monarchs to the Bay Area.
The results of those efforts should be known momentarily because the owners' meetings will be held Thursday in New York -- in fact they all broke bread together Wednesday night while Temple was having the time of its life in nearby Piscataway, N.J., producing another stunner on the Scarlet Knights in the current series that began in 2001.
If tea leaves are to be read, one can speculate that the news of the Monarchs' future may not be promising because by now if a deal was in place leaks would begin flowing in the direction of what is left of newspaper sports departments in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, or one of the 'tweeners.
I'll bet money the WNBA owners know the answer to this question, or will find it out today. I can't imagine the owners not telling their coaches, and their coaches not telling their staff, and...you get the drift. I think we'll definitely learn something in 24-48 hours. My guess is that the news will be released on late Friday if it's the kind of news you want to bury.
Undoubtedly, the release of info on the 3rd-4th-5th of December is also a necessity because the ARCO staff have called a meeting with the Monarchs ticket holders on the 9th. The ticket holders will be either called to:
a) be thanked, and asked to renew their tix for the 2010 Monarchs season,
b) be thanked for their long-suffering patience, or
c) be thanked, and asked to purchase Kings seasons tickets, or be given some sort of Kings discount.
Let's consider "c" for a minute. Look, live and let live with the NBA. But what is the payroll of the Kings? $61 million dollars? That payroll is about 600 times the payroll of the (hopefully not former) Monarchs. To ask former Monarchs season ticket holders to support the Kings because there's some perception that the Kings need the money is adding insult to injury.
If I was working for ARCO/the Maloofs and I were asked to make such a foolish plea to Monarchs ticket holders, I'd only agree if I were surrounded by a phalanx of California State troopers.
UPDATE: Michelle Smith passes on news from an NBA source:
A Bay Area source said the deal with potential new owners has "fallen through" and there's no evidence that anyone else has stepped up to rescue the team.
This is very unhappy news, if it is true.