Tuesday, February 28

Game Night: Not Your Daddy's Sonics

Bob Hill, coach of the Seattle SupersonicsTonight, the Sonics debut what is – in many ways – a brand-new team. As such, there will be a big bulls-eye residing on Coach Hill’s forehead for the next three months. After having to endure an incomplete roster for the beginning of his tenure, Hill has got all of the pieces he should need to create a winning team. I have always felt Hill has/had what it takes to be a successful NBA coach, and now we’ll find out if I’m right.

To me, with their recent moves the Sonics have finally replaced Jerome James and Antonio Daniels by acquiring Wilcox, Wilks, and Watson (add in Wilkens and we’ve got our own W-4!). Watson complements Ridnour perfectly, and Wilcox’ athleticism and aggressiveness are precisely what the Sonics need. One can only hope their attention to defense rubs off on Lewis, Allen, et al. Wilks’ surprising performance against the Heat only adds more excitement.

Watching the Sonics last year, the best lineup in my opinion was Daniels, Allen, Lewis, Radmanovic, and Fortson (at least while Fortson kept his fouls in check). That group’s combination of defense, scoring, and rebounding was exciting to watch. An aspect oft-overlooked was their exceptional foul shooting and – even more importantly – foul-drawing abilities. Unfortunately, Watson can’t hit FTs as well as Daniels, and Wilcox is no Fortson at drawing and making shots at the charity stripe.

Regardless, I’m more excited about the Sonics right now than at any point this season since October. Tonight’s game against the Hornets should be a wonderful opportunity for the Sonics to show Seattle fans that this team can still be factor in the playoff race. The Hornets have added a few pieces (Marc Jackson, Moochie Norris, Linton Johnson, Aaron Williams) to an already surprisingly good team, but the fact that Earl Watson will be wearing green and gold makes the thought of Chris Paul suiting up a little more palatable. This is no gimme in any way; the Hornets are a good team with a winning record on the road against Western Conference opponents and a 19-8 mark since January 1st. Their recent additions have played very well – both Williams and Johnson have posted double-doubles since being acquired – and Chris Paul is, well, Chris Paul. In the Sonics’ favor, the Hornets are 1-11 when teams score 100+ against them, something the Sonics ought to be able to do with their new roster inact.

Can the Sonics win, though? Good Lord, I hope so. Nothing would rev up this franchise at this point than a win against a good team. In a season of disasters both on and off of the court, Sonic fans deserves a ray of sunshine. Let’s hope we see it tonight.

Sunday, February 26

Supersonicsoulscribbles: "Sailing"

Click image to view at full size.

Here's the first of what we hope is a regular feature here at the Triple S. With any luck, the rest of the season will be as ripe for cartoony possibilities as Trade Deadline week.

Hell yes. Now I'm moving this way, I'm doing this thing. Please enjoy.

Saturday, February 25

Short-handed, Sonics Fall

Thanks to food poisoning (Allen), babies (Collison), injuries (Fortson, Fife), and trades (Watson, Wilks, Russell), the Sonics were down to 7 guys last night in Orlando, and the Magic made them pay.

Sadly, Rashard was unable to step up in his chance for a big night, scoring only 14 points on 6-for-16 shooting from the field. The Omen made the most of his 46 minutes by scoring 21 points, and Chris Wilcox continued to make Rick Sund look smart by scoring 20 (while Radman was scoring 19 in LA for the Clips in his 2nd consecutive start). With both Frodo and Lewis at 5 fouls in the 4th, the Sonics were perilously close to having only 5 available players. In a seldom-used rule derived from the U.S. government's "levels of power" rule for the presidency, the NBA requires first the head coach, then assistant coach, then trainer, then broadcasters to suit up if a team fails to dress 5 players. There is no truth to the rumor that Craig Ehlo was the one who poisoned Ray Allen, although he was seen lurking around Nick Collison's wife, shouting "boo!" in an attempt to induce labor.

Tonight, the Sonics head down the state for a game with the Heat. Don't know Allen's status, but Vegas has tabbed Miami a 16-point favorite. The smart money, as always, is not on the Sonics.

Update: Mike Wilks may play tonight. Danny Fortson may also join the team and play. Watson and Bryon Russell are both expected to play on Tuesday in Seattle against N.O./OKC, while Swift's nose is expected to keep him out until at least Tuesday.

Friday, February 24

Frodo vs Karma

Ultimate Deathmatch: Earl vs. Curl! Oh, wait . . .

That's a rather inside attempt at some lame humor, but, basically, what we're looking for here is whether the Sonics should continue to start Eugene's favorite pint-sized point guard, or if we should start looking at an alternative who's name is Earl.

Ridnour has been a conundrum this season - productive on offense, rather poor on defense. Contrarily, Watson has been solid on defense this year, and for his career. Naturally, the best option is to play Frodo on offense, then swap them as the Sonics head back on defense. Naturally, this is illegal, having last been attempted when Caldwell Jones played the 5 for the Sixers back in the 80s. That darn David Stern and his "rules" ...

Anyway, I'll throw my two bits in here. To me, Ridnour is a poor man's Dana Barros, or a rich man's Chris Corchiani. Incapable of defense, Ridnour is worn out by playing more than 30 minutes a night, as Bob Hill points out seemingly every even-numbered day. For the Sonics to progress, they need someone who can clamp down on opoosing guards, especially in the 4th quarter, and neither Frodo nor Allen fit that bill.

So, let me be the first to say: Start Earl and bring Luke off the bench.

Thursday, February 23

Mr. Stern Comes to Olympia

As he does every year, NBA Commissioner David Stern spent Trade Deadline Day in Olympia, at the Ramada Inn, just chillin'.

Alright, he was there on business, trumpeting the Sonics' need for a new/improved arena, or else. Howard Schultz and Wally Walker accompanied Stern to the legislative hearing, after which they broke for lunch and went to Wendy's.

In a related note, the Sonics no longer have the "worst lease in the entire NBA," as that title has been grabbed by the Trail Blazers (yes!). Here's a funny quote from the story:

"In a comparison with the Key Arena lease for the Seattle SuperSonics, Conn said the Trail Blazers receive no revenue for suites, clubs, courtside seats, game concessions or parking.

"The Sonics, by comparison, receive 40 percent of the revenue for suites, 60 percent for clubs, and 100 percent for courtside seats, game concessions and parking."

Isn't it amazing how teams can twist things around to suit their argument? For the past couple of months we've had to endure Schultz & Co. whine endlessly about how no other team in the league has to put up with what they do, and now we come to find out that the Blazers are fighting the same battle. Sigh.

Good-Bye, Mr. Flip

Flip Murray is no longer a member of the Seattle Supersonics.Flip Murray has taken his point guard "skills" to Cleveland, espn.com is reporting. The Cavs sent Seattle Mike Wilks, a 2nd-round pick, $500,000, and a pin from the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

Wilks, like Murray, is only signed through the end of the season, and is due to make about $700K this year. He's a 5'10" guard out of Rice University, making him the second Rice U. grad to suit up for the Sonics ($10 for naming the other one). Counting Wilks, the Sonics now have four PGs on their roster (including Rick Brunson, which Bob Hill would obviously rather not).

I can't imagine Wilks will get much playing time in Seattle, but since it's his 5th team in less than 4 years in the league, he's probably not too worked up about it. Although, after reading this article from a couple of years ago, you can't help but root for the guy.

(It's official)

Watson a Sonic

Earl Watson is now a member of the Seattle Supersonics.  Whoo-hoo.
"Wattstax" is back!

The Sonics have finally pulled the trigger on the much-debated, never-consumated acquisition of Earl Watson from the Nuggets. (Thanks to Nate for the tip).

Here's how it breaks down:

To Seattle:
Earl Watson
Bryon Russell
Denver's 2nd-round pick

To Denver:
Ruben Patterson
Charles Smith
Reggie Evans

To Portland:
Voshon Lenard
Brian Skinner

To Sacramento:
Vitaly Potapenko
Sergei Monia

My initial reaction? The Sonics could be hoping that Watson pushes Frodo to perform at a higher level, and that he'll pair well with Ray. If that's the case ... it's still a dumb move. Guys like Earl Watson are not rare, and now we've wed ourselves to him for five years. Could not the Sonics have found someone similar in the free agent market/draft this summer, signed them to a cheaper, and shorter-term contract?

I understand the logic in shedding the Potato's contract and moving Reggie Evans, but this still doesn't seem wise to me.

Wednesday, February 22

Sonics Burn Atlanta

Seattle SuperSonics' Ray Allen (34) takes a shot through Atlanta Hawks defenders Salim Stoudamire (20) and Josh Childress (1) during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2006, in Atlanta. Allen had 33 points for the night and lead his team to a 114-109 win.<br />(AP Photo/Gregory Smith)Playing the role of General Sherman, one Ray Allen, who drained 5 of 8 from 3-point range on his way to 33 points as the Sonics outscored the Hawks in the 4th quarter to grab a 114-109 win on Wednesday night.

However, despite Allen's heroics, the unsung hero of the game has to be Chris Wilcox, who managed to shoot 80% from the field, grab 10 boards, and basically do everything Vladimir Radmanovic never did in a Sonics' jersey. Wilcox managed to score in double figures for only the second time this calendar year, and it definitely made a difference for the Supes tonight.

Game Night: Hawks

Tree Rollins: Not expected to play tonight.

Let's all take a breath. Steve Francis was moved today, but the Sonics have yet to do anything, and even if they do, it's only going to be get rid of Evans or Murray, or possibly picking up Earl Watson.

With that in mind, let's try focusing on the season for awhile. I for one will be glad to see the trading deadline in the rear-view mirror, if for no other reason than to put these Ray Allen-for-Ben Gordon rumors to bed (Good Lord, does Sam Smith even read his own nonsense?).

The Sonics are up against the Hawks. I say up against, in that usually the opponent provides opposition, which, of course, the Hawks are loathe to do. After starting at 2-16, the Hawks have improved of late, but they are still the Hawks and unless Doc Rivers, Nique, Kevvy Kev, and Tree Rollins are loosening up, they won't be seeing the playoffs in person this year.

Injuries are beginning to pile up for the Sonics, with Swift, Potato, and Fortson out, while Rashard and Wilcox are listed as questionable (which begs the question, is there ever a day in which Danny Fortson is not questionable?).

But if you want to really feel depressed, listen to this. Despite Atlanta's woeful state of basketball, they're favored by 5 against Seattle tonight. Considering the Hawks edged the Pistons in their last home game, it's not such a bad bet.

Monday, February 20

Lew Too?

Seattle Supersonics forward Rashard LewisAfter last week's Radman/Wilco trade, everyone is still waiting for the other shoe to drop. John Sleeper of the Herald thinks that shoe should be Lew:
The Sonics want to take good looks at youngsters Robert Swift and Johan Petro, both of whom have shown promise and that they only need playing time. Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis (both can include "All-Star" on their resumes), Luke Ridnour, Nick Collison and Damien Wilkins all appear untouchable.

But are they all safe? At 26, Lewis has been in the league eight years and is just now entering the realm of "seasoned veteran." An effortless scorer, Lewis, as are too many Sonics, is a liability on defense. His build still is so slight that opposing forwards use him as a tackling dummy in the paint.

Read the rest here.

Friday, February 17

Future All-Star or All-Too-Scary?

As the NBA heads into All-Star Weekend, we at Supersonicsoul leave you with this to ponder: Could Robert Swift be an All-Star someday? Seriously. Also, are Robert Swift and Banjo Boy from Deliverance related? I know, it's just too scary to think about. Forget I said anything and just enjoy the game.

Thursday, February 16

Trade Ray-Ray? No way-way!

After trading Vlad the Rad-Man for Chris Wilcox earlier this week, the Sonics still have a glut of big, lunky power forwards on their roster. So their next logical move would be to unload some big men for a much-needed point guard, right? Not according to several "sources" around the league.

from the Chicago Tribune:
Team executives say the Sonics, having a miserable season, losing millions of dollars and almost out of the playoff race already have been active in trade talks for Flip Murray, Reggie Evans, Vitaly Potapenko and Danny Fortson. Executives say they haven't heard mention of Allen, though at least one added a "yet." The belief around the NBA is with Allen turning 31 this summer after just signing a long-term contract, young players like Robert Swift, Johan Petro and Luke Ridnour getting considerable playing time, the team going nowhere and the franchise in fragile financial condition (no one there wants to say that fast five times), it's inevitable they'll examine what they can get for Allen.
. . .
So here's a deal that could make sense for both teams. Gordon, Tim Thomas and Eric Piatkowski (the latter two with expiring contracts) and one of the Bulls' No. 1 picks for Allen, Nick Collison, whom the Bulls always have liked, and Fortson, whose $6.6 million contract next season the Sonics have been trying to dump.
And from the Chicago Sun Times:
Does five-time All-Star guard Ray Allen, who is averaging 24.8 points for the Seattle SuperSonics, make sense for the Bulls? He is said to be on the market.
So the question remains: What in the hell are they smoking in Chi-town, and where can I get some? Ben Gordon for Ray Allen? RAY ALLEN? I have not seen such masturbatory fanboy fantasies since . . . well, since reading our own comments ("Fortson and The Potato for Paul Pierce!").

Then again, when you look at who runs this team, anything is possible. I guess I'll approach the trading deadline the same way I do my taxes: drink heavily and hope for the best.

Tuesday, February 14

Goodbye Vladi, Hello Wilco

Vladimir Radmanovic was traded Tuesday night to the Clippers for Chris "Wilco" Wilcox. On behalf of everyone here at Supersonicsoul, I'd like to thank Vladi Doddi for his time in Seattle. We'll miss your rainbow threes and thunderous dunks. We will not miss your long cold stretches, creepy braids and incessant bitching.

More Stadia

I know I've been riding this horse particularly hard recently, but I thought this bit of back-and-forth from the Times' Bob Young worth reading:

"[Howard] Schultz has touted a Sonics' study, which shows the team adds more than $200 million to the local economy through spending by fans, players and the team.

"Seattle Center has hired economist Bill Beyers to check the Sonics' claim and conduct his own study. Beyers recently told the task force the Sonics' analysis overstated the team's impact and was 'not a good study.'

"Beyers is scheduled to present his report to Della's committee on Wednesday."

Count me among those curious to see what data Mr. Beyers produces. I'm guessing his figures will be slightly less than one Howard Schultz'.

Monday, February 13

Dirty Danny

The Sonics may not be racking up many wins on the court this year, but they racked up this important notice in Sports Illustrated: 2 of the 3 dirtiest players in the league this year are wearing green and gold.

Danny Fortson (#1) and Reggie Evans (#3) ranked at the top of who other players thought were the worst offenders in the league. Ray Allen's favorite player, Bruce Bowen, checked in at #2.

It got me to thinking, though, where do Fort and Mr. Glass rank in Sonic history? Obviously, Frank Brickowski has to be somewhere near the top, with Lonnie Shelton possibly thrown in the top 5, and you could even throw Maurice Lucas in for good measure.

A Rosey trade for Supes?

It's trade rumor time again! Here's one courtesy of the never reliable New York Daily News:
HOUSTON - Isiah Thomas' conversations with Seattle have centered on Reggie Evans and Danny Fortson, a sign that the Knicks are trying to surround Eddy Curry with rugged power forwards.

Malik Rose is a similar-type player, but the Knicks, according to league sources, are willing to trade Rose and perhaps Trevor Ariza to the Sonics if they can get Fortson and Evans in return.

Thursday, February 9

Look at all these rumors

You know writers are desparate when they start cooking up stuff like this:

"... Some have speculated that the Seattle SuperSonics may want to move Ray Allen because of their financial issues ..." (Philly Inquirer)

Yeah, that'll happen all right. I'm sure the Sonics are really interested in trading their only legitimate star for a group of 3rd-tier players while in the midst of grabbing some dough for their new and improved stadium.

By the way, the Sonics lost again last night to the mighty Hornets. Did I mention that the Hornets' first two point guards were on the sidelines with injuries for most of the game? And that David West and PJ Brown combined for 47 points? Oh, and Kirk Snyder went for 16 points and 12 helpers?


Wednesday, February 8

Sonics Win!

"I'm trying to cram as many rich, white people as possible up there!"

The Sonics may suck on the basketball court, the court of public opinion, and most likely even the People's Court, but they won in Olympia on Tuesday.

As Margarita(ville) Prentice, chairwoman of the Ways and Means Committee, put it, "The ripple effect [of sports on the economy] defies our imagination." She was referring, of course, to the impact the Seahawks' making it to the Super Bowl had on the local businesses.

She's right! If the Sonics make the Super Bowl, Seattle will win big! Oh, wait, the Sonics can't play in the Super Bowl, it being for another sport and all. But, jeez, the NBA Championship Finals ratings are always through the roof, right?

In any event, the taxes previously used to fund other SafeCo/Quest Field will now be extended to fund Key Arena's transformation into the type of arena that no team will ever leave. After all, no city would ever sell an arena for $23 million 17 years after they spent $60 million to build it, right? Ah, yes, I love this game.

Tuesday, February 7

Brother can you spare a dime Penny?

There's been a lot of talk about Earl Watson coming to Seattle, but here's something I hadn't heard until today:
Another persistent rumor has the Knicks finally unloading Penny Hardaway 's expiring $15.75 million contract on Seattle for Reggie Evans, Flip Murray and Vitaly Potapenko .
That would help the cash-strapped Sonics for next season, but it wouldn't appear to do much to help the Knicks. Which, in my cynical opinion, is why this trade probably will go through.

from The Detroit News
So, should the Sonics being giving up on this season before it's even half done? Is Flip worth a Penny? Is a Penny worth anything? So . . . many . . . questions . . .

Sucky Sonics make Hill "puke"

After losing to the lowly Bobcats 119-106 last night, Sonics coach Bob Hill had this to say:
"You've got to sleep on it and get up in the morning. After you puke, you can start thinking about it. That's the first thing I'll do is puke."
Yeah, I think that's pretty much how we all feel right now, Bob.

Monday, February 6

Misery loves company

Conversation overheard at a QFC in Ballard this morning:
Clerk: So are you as depressed as I am about the Super Bowl?

Customer: Are you kidding? I'm a Sonics fan—I've been depressed all year!

Friday, February 3

Stadia Mania

"So this is a basketball? Fascinating! "

As this site has gone on, one area in which I am proud is our reluctance to write articles concerning the Sonics’ financial picture. I don’t know about Paul or Chunky, but I root for the Sonics’ basketball team, not for Howard Schultz, Barry Ackerley, or anyone else in the front office. I would imagine most of the people who visit this site are in the same situation. The kind of statistics we enjoy are points per game, not economic indicators.

Yet this latest hubbub concerning the Sonics and their arena woes has struck me as something worth discussing. Obviously, both sides of this argument – as in any debate – are staking out their respective territories, filling the newspaper and airwaves with ridiculous rhetoric that has as much basis in fact as W’s State of the Union.

Somewhere between Nick Licata’s nonsense about sports having “no cultural or economic value whatsoever” and Howard Schultz’s diatribe about “we are ultimately not the ones responsible for selling or moving this team” lies the truth, at least what I consider to be the truth.

The truth is the Sonics are vastly overstating their economic impact upon their hometown, a trait they learned, no doubt, from all of the other professional sports teams in North America.

Take a guess – what’s the economic impact of the Sonics on Seattle? In other words, if the Sonics left, by what percentage what this region’s economy decline? By 20? 10? 5?

Try 1/10th of one percent. Or, perhaps I should put it another way, as this author did: “In every case, independent work on the economic impact of stadiums and arenas has uniformly found that there is no statistically significant positive correlation between sports facility construction and economic development. … This stands in stark contrast to the claims of sports teams and leagues who assert that the large economic benefits of professional franchises merit considerable public expenditures on stadiums and arenas.” Or, perhaps you’d like to read this article, whose authors “haven’t uncovered a single instance in which the presence of a professional sports team has been linked to a boost in the local economy.”

And for this, Howard Schultz wants the taxpayers of King County to cough up $200 million, all the while his front office is signing people like Calvin Booth to five-year, multimillion contracts, Mikki Moore to a deal that pay him $300,000 a point, Ibo Kutluay to a two-year deal that contributed all of zero points to the Sonics, and so on. All while his front office sales staff has posted the lowest luxury suite occupancy rate in the entire NBA.

Face it, Howard, you have made your mess and now you must lie in it. I for one am not interested in subsidizing his team’s idiocy. Yes, I love the Sonics, and, yes, if they win an NBA championship it will warm my heart like few other things in my life. But how does that compare to people stuck in 2-hour traffic delays, every day, every week, every month of the year because of a lack of public transit? Will the goodwill generated by Schultz’ new building make homeless people warmer at night?

No, it won’t. I have come to a shared conclusion with two very smart people who know more about this subject than me, you, or Howard. Noll and Zimbalist’s fine book from 1997 “Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums,” explains in excrutiating detail just what its title declares. Their conclusion? “Stadium subsidies facilitate building expensive monuments to sports that benefit no one and transfer income from ordinary people to highly paid players, owners, and executives.”

Sorry, folks, but if you’re asking me to cough up $200 million so that I can continue to enjoy writing for a sports blog, Ray Allen can add another bedroom to his guest house, and Howard Schultz can add another Starbucks in Tarzana, well, you’re asking the wrong guy.

Thursday, February 2


Opie all up in Miles' grill. "I'm open . . . seriously!"

In a season full of misery, one bright spot has emerged. Young Robert Swift has taken the reins as Seattle's center of the future, and his play of late has even put him in the role of center of the present.

Swift has averaged - hold onto your seats, folks - close to a double-double the past month, 9.8 ppg and 8.5 rebounds per game. In fact, he's the 16th-best center in the league at rebounds per game during that time.

Now, for most teams, having the 16th-best rebounding center wouldn't be cause for celebration. But the Sonics are not most teams. Since Jack Sikma headed for Milwaukee in exchange for Alton Lister lo, those many years ago, the Sonics have been devoid of a quality man at the 5 spot. Is Swift the answer to our prayers? Well, plenty of other guys have posted great numbers for a month's time (see Fortson, Danny for further reference), so the jury is still out on Swift. But at least he gives us something to get excited about, and isn't that what being a fan is all about?

Wednesday, February 1

Back from the dead?

After a kick-in-the-nuts loss to Portland Monday night, the Sonics rebounded with a hard-fought (O.K., ugly) win over the Warriors tonight, 111-107.

Supersonicsoul was in the house tonight, as Chunk took me to the game for a birthday present. As I am old and enfeebled now, it was nice to get out of the house. (Even though I had to pay five dollars for a hot-dog. FIVE DOLLARS!)

Speaking of Supersonicsoul, we are officially back online now. All the files were erased from the server because some idiot (me) thought it would be cool to upgrade to mySQL/PHP and some other web-crap I don't fully understand. Anyhue, all is fixed now and I promise not to break the website again. Probably.