Was yesterday an important day? Yes, I’d say it was a pretty important day. Both the Seattle people and the Sacramento people got together in New York City to present their cases. Two cities, one team. They spoke to the two committees who need to know about relocation and finances. Then, they all came outside and talked to the media. They were all very excited about what happened and looking forward to two weeks from now when we might possibly (but probably not really) have an answer.
In short, a bunch of people got together, made a huge, hairy deal about it, and told the rest of the world absolutely nothing of note, except that it might take LONGER for us to know who gets to have professional basketball this fall.
We were supposed to find out on April 19th. But, now, I guess not?
I think for the Seattle side of things, that’s a bad sign. We already know that the NBA is giving Sacramento every opportunity to do what they need to do. So, the longer the NBA gives them, the better their chances are that they will follow through. Obviously, the NBA can’t appear as if they’re starving for franchises to move to other cities, but this is pretty depressing nonetheless.
I’ve lost all faith that this is going to shake out in our favor. Momentum has completely swung away from us. Whereas this was a totally Done Deal just a few months ago, now all anyone can talk about is Expansion. All things being equal – which, they appear to be right now – the team stays in the city it’s playing in. That’s just the way it goes. And you can’t sit here and talk about all the nit-picky things Sacramento has to deal with – lawsuits, non-binding agreements, not-quite-yet owning all the land necessary to build the new arena upon – and then ignore all the nit-picky things Seattle has to deal with – lawsuits, environmental reviews, the fact that we don’t have a team and therefore have no cards in this game. In the grand scheme of things, all things ARE equal. And that spells doom for the Sonics.
The only ounce of a prayer we have is that the NBA will be so impressed by our ownership group that they will just GIVE us a new team. After all, there’s a lot to be impressed about. A big ol’ billionaire, a dynamic young billionaire, the heads of a local company with a powerful national presence. These are people you’re happy to do business with. These are people you want to have in your exclusive little club. They may not be enough to steal a team away from another city, but there’s an outside chance that – in a couple years – we can have what we’ve wanted all along anyway.
It would be a shame to deny the Hansen/Balmer group. I mean, look at what they’ve done in one fell swoop to increase the value of all NBA franchises. If the Kings are worth more than $500 million, then what does that say about franchises like the Lakers or Celtics? Their offer for the Kings becomes the new Bottom Line. That means it only goes up from there! For that, they SHOULD be rewarded. If not by getting the Kings, then at least give them something brand new.
That’s the thinking, anyway. More and more local journalists are siding with this theory, because they can read the writing on the wall. Sacramento is going to win. It’s going to go down as the greatest comeback story of all time. They’ll get Will Smith to play Kevin Johnson, Gary Sinise to play Chris Hansen, Josh Brolin to play Clay Bennett, and Bobcat Goldthwait to play David Stern.
I’m a little more pessimistic. I tend to believe them when they say they don’t want expansion. Sacramento will get their arena built, and Seattle will continue to be the bogeyman the NBA uses to get all other NBA cities to fall in line. Because, let’s face it, what is their motivation? As long as Hansen and Balmer are around, offering up insane gobs of money for wilting franchises, willing and able to move a team to Seattle at the drop of a hat, increasing value for everyone else while getting the wayward organizations to fall in line.
How long was the NBA dealing with the Sacramento situation? Years? How long did it take to get a deal done when Seattle stepped into the fray? Weeks? Why would you ever get rid of that situation? It’s the goose that lays the golden egg!
If you ask me, being “upfront” and “honest” with this whole thing is exactly the reason why Seattle will never get a team. In today’s world, in today’s NBA, you have to be sneaky, underhanded, conniving. You have to say one thing and mean another. You have to swoop in under the cover of night and make way with what you’re after before the sun rises.
Nice guys finish last, don’t you guys listen to the cliches? If you want something done right, you’ve got to get a little dirty.