The Last Thing the Internet Needs Now

Agonized Musings Redux: It’s On!
September 25, 2007, 12:04 pm
Filed under: Sports | Tags: ,


Maybe I should have waited to post the original Agonized Musings … “ piece today given this meaty development in the Bloodless War between Seattle, Washington and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma:

City Sues Sonics to Enforce Arena Lease (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Who didn’t see this coming?

When you act in something that I don’t want to call bad faith but probably is (if not the pure legal definition), you should probably expect to be sued?

What do I mean by that? Here’s Slade Gorton, from that P-I article as above:

“In talking about another new and highly expensive arena for basketball in the Seattle area, they made the kinds of demands that from my perspective were almost designed to not be met, with only an extremely modest contribution (from ownership) and a huge investment from taxpayers.”

And more:

“Gorton said recent published statements by Sonics minority owner Aubrey McClendon saying the intent has always been to wind up in Oklahoma City lent further credence to the belief the new group never was committed to Seattle.

‘Regrettably, almost from the beginning, those Oklahoma owners gave every indication they did not intend a longtime stay in Seattle,’ Gorton said.

‘They refused the request to have minority owners who were from Seattle. They incorporated the venture in Oklahoma. And more recently, one of the principal owners let the cat out of the bag by saying a move to Oklahoma was their design from the very beginning.'”

I’m sorry to hate on someone from Oklahoma because I live here too, but what bothers me about the whole thing with Seattle is the “not exactly honesty” — blatant or implied — on the part of the ownership group. But was the cat really let out of the bag when Aubrey McClendon made his now-infamous remarks to the Journal Record? I think Gorton is spot on with the “demands designed to not be met” remarks. To me its like they thought they had all their ducks lined up in a row because Seattle was viewed as “apathetic” towards the NBA and downright cold toward the idea of publicly funding a successor venue to Key Arena after having done such for facilities for the Mariners and Seahawks. I believe that’s exactly why the ownership group trotted out this outlandishly expensive proposal for a new arena knowing it would go over like a lead balloon and perhaps expedite their exit from a disgusted Seattle.

Well, Seattle is just disgusted enough to sue the team to force them to honor the remaining term of the lease. How’s that?

I just wonder if its really worth all this trouble — and a certain amount of bad will towards Oklahoma City on some parts — to make OKC an NBA city when, as I postulated the other night, I’m not actually certain that it would succeed on a long-term basis. This is NOT a situation like the New Orleans Hornets were in immediately after Katrina — the little lost NBA team needing a temporary home and to be loved by a strange audience in a place they’d never been to (well, except for Desmond Mason, acquired days before that season started). The team that was expected to suck in 2005-2006 had, by the end of the year, doubled its win total from the horrendous 2004-2005 campaign (18-64)* AND had the NBA’s Rookie of the Year on its roster. To OKC-ians, they were the little team that could even though it was far from home and tried to make the best of its situation, and stories like that tug at Oklahoma’s collective heartstrings. I can’t help but think that had a large part to do with the Hornets’ success in OKC.

No, the Sonics aren’t a little lost NBA team needing a new home, but a team that will be taken out of its present home and potentially moved to another one on purpose whether anybody likes it or not. I don’t think I like that. Thankfully, there is no catastrophe, no tragic extenuating circumstances, it’s a rich businessman who wants to take what he bought and tradition and entrenchment and fans be damned, and it sucks. It certainly sucks for Sonics fans, and it sucks for people like me who are sick of Oklahoma being thought of in negative terms and unwelcome stereotypes because of what someone from THEIR state does.

And has ANYBODY asked the players how THEY feel about possibly moving to Oklahoma in the future, be it near or far? They’re probably not supposed to say anything and that’s understandable at this time, but such responses would be interesting to hear.

Most of all, where is David Stern on this?

There might be more later.


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