Tuesday, January 30

Permission to Win

"You know who I am? I'm the coach who can't get fired!"

There's been some grumbling in Sonics Land. When your team is struggling to reach .500 and threatening to leave town, that's not surprising. What is surprising is that fans aren't grumbling about the losing, but the winning.

Content to write off the season before the all-star break, many Seattle basketball fans are hoping the Sonics lose as many games as possible for a chance to land coveted college star Greg Oden. Normally, I might see the logic in this. It's not every day you get a chance to land a great big man like Oden, who has been compared to future hall of famers David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Still, it is only a chance—unlike the old days, having the worst record in the league is no guarantee for landing the top pick. The Sonics could tank a salvageable season for Tiago Splitter.

The thing that really kills the "Lose Now to Win Later" strategy is that even if the Sonics somehow land Oden, Seattle might never see him play.

While Big Boy Bennett is still talking about about a "Pepsi-Light" arena for Renton, there's still a real possibility that he's just running out the clock on the Key Arena lease so he can pack the team off to Okie-Land. Haven't you wondered why the Sonics haven't made a single move all season to improve the team?

If this is the Sonics' last season is Seattle, is this the way you want the team to go out, intentionally losing games so that Oklahoma can have the next San Antonio Spurs? (You know Bob Hill must be having flashbacks.)

I say win now. Make the playoffs. Leave it all on the floor. Go out in glory. Go Sonics.

Thursday, January 25

Sonics Sign Brown for Season

Thanks to Jason for the tip!
SEATTLE, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2007 – Sonics General Manager Rick Sund announced today that the team has re-signed forward Andre Brown for the remainder of the season. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released.

Brown has appeared in seven games for the Sonics since joining the team on Jan. 5, averaging 5.0 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. Brown tallied a career-high 10 points vs. Milwaukee on Jan. 19 and recorded a key block in overtime of the Sonics 122-114 victory over Utah on Jan. 12. The 6-9 forward, who played his college ball at DePaul University, began the season with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA D-League.

Tuesday, January 23

Halfway Home

Not sure if anyone else caught the exchange between Lenny Wilkens and Kevin Calabro during the slaughter of the Bucks last Friday, but it’s emblematic of the misleading nature of even the smallest of win streaks.

Hepped up on the dunk- and layup-fest the Sonics were putting on, at some point in the latter stages of the 3rd quarter Wilkens mentioned that, “if the Sonics continue to share the ball this way and continue to play aggressively, they can start making a charge in the standings.”

Wilkens’ comments were followed up on-line by David Locke, who wrote the team must play well against Denver, L.A., and Minnesota because “the Sonics have to catch all three if they are going to make a second-half run.”

I’ll venture the minimum number of games needed to qualify for the playoffs in the West will be 43. That’s reasonable, considering the last time a team with fewer than 43 wins made the playoffs was 1998 (Houston, and I’m not counting the strike year, obviously).

Right now, the Sonics are 16-25. In order for them to win 43 games, they’d have to go 27-14 for the rest of the season. In other words, in the next two months the Sonics would have to play as well as the San Antonio Spurs in order to qualify for the playoffs.

That’s a joke. There is no way in holy hell the Sonics will play 13 games above .500 for the rest of the season. It’s just not going to happen. In fact, I’ll wager $500 against all comers that it won’t. Go to the comments section of this site and write your name and telephone number down. I’ll take all action. I’ll even give you 5-1 odds.

The simple truth is the first half of the season counts. Yeah, it stinks Swift got hurt and that Rashard and Ray both missed big chunks of the year, but that’s life. The fact Rick Sund thought the best way to go at center was to back an inexperienced high school kid (Swift) with an inexperienced Frenchman (Petro) is his own doing. The fact he thought Earl Watson would be happy playing second fiddle when the very reason Sund was able to obtain him was because of his unhappiness in Denver is nobody’s fault but his.

But that’s the past. The realty is the Sonics are now hopelessly out of the playoff race, and every game they win catapults them further away from Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, and closer to people like this.

Hey, I’m all for the team trying hard, and I certainly don’t expect them to pull a fade a la John Lucas’ Cavs of a few years ago, but it certainly doesn’t make any sense for the Sonics to give Ray Allen 45 minutes a night, the way they have for the past week or so, when he’s 31, nearing the downslope of his career, and his team is actually better off losing.

The question isn’t “What do the Sonics need to do to further their playoff chances?”; the question is rather “What do the Sonics need to do to improve their 2007-08 win total?” I can think of a few answers that would be helpful:

1. Trade either Ridnour or Watson. Only a fool would try this 2-point-guard situation next year, when it’s obvious that both of them want to start. Starting next season, their salaries are basically identical, and their trade value is probably the same. In a perfect world, the Sonics would deal Watson for somebody like Jeff Foster, but that’s just a dream.
2. Continue to start Gelabale until Rashard returns, then make sure he – not Wilkins – is the first guy off the bench. I don’t think Wilkins is the answer at SF if Rashard leaves this summer, and Gelabale could be. The Sonics need to know what holes they need to fill this summer, and giving minutes to Damien at Gelabale’s expense doesn’t make sense.

The problem in this whole equation is Bob Hill. At this point in time, Hill’s goals are at odds with the team’s. The best result for Bob Hill is to win as many games as possible, so that he has a better shot at coaching in the NBA next year. The best result for the Sonics sans playoffs is to lose as many games as possible, but that would result in Hill’s resume being sabotaged, a situation with which he is intimately familiar. As is often the case in the League, what’s best for the coach isn’t necessarily what’s best for the organization, and so long as Hill’s contract isn’t extended, it will remain that way.

In essence, the Sonics have three options:

1. Don’t extend Hill’s contract, and watch Allen play 45 minutes a night in a Quixotian attempt for the playoffs.
2. Extend Hill’s contract, and watch Petro get 30 minutes a night and Allen closer to 35.
3. Fire Hill, promote Sikma or another assistant, and watch the Sonics move down in the standings and closer to Odenville.

Considering they’ll be going hat in hand to the legislature this year, I’m guessing #1 will remain the franchise’s choice. And, once again, Sonic fans will get the shaft.

Friday, January 19

Sonic Arena: Part I

I assume that you have all read the news regarding Clay Bennett’s proposal to the state of Washington, and his letter to Gov. Gregoire. If not, go inform yourselves.

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times by now, the Sonics are looking at modeling this new arena on the Pepsi Center. Hell, they even hired the guys that designed the Pepsi Center to design their new playpen. As Bennett stated in his letter to Gregoire:

“We believe the potential for such a venue extends far beyond professional basketball and has the opportunity to benefit the entire region. An excellent example was the news last week that Denver was chosen as the site for the next Democratic National Convention to be held at the Pepsi Center, which is an example of the kind of facility we are proposing here in Puget Sound.”

Of course, Bennett failed to mention that previous conventions have been held at Joe Louis Arena, Kemper Arena, Reunion Arena, and the Astrodome – because, that, of course, would be admitting that those stadia are no longer inhabited by NBA teams, having been abandoned by the spoiled men who run/ran their respective professional sports franchises.

Bennett proposes that the Sonics will provide $100 million towards the expected $530 million cost of the arena. He expects the state to provide $330 million, and Bellevue/Renton and private financiers to provide the balance of $100 million. It’s important to note that the stadium itself is expected to cost $360 million, while the land value is estimated at $170 million, which he assumes will be donated.

In other words, Bennett plans on contributing 20% of the total cost of the project, which got me to thinking – how will the revenues for the arena be divided up? That is to say, of the X millions of dollars in revenue for an arena such as this, how much will be generated by the Sonics, how much by concerts, tractor pulls, or barbershop quartet conventions?

I did a quick look at the schedule at the Pepsi Center for the next few months (unfortunately, they don’t archive past months, so we’ll have to go with Jan. to April). Not surprisingly, the lion’s share of events at the PC are divided up between the Avalanche and the Nuggets. In fact, between 58% and 85% of a given months events are either Nugget- or Avalanche-related. Of course, that’s for the months when the Nuggets and Avalanche play, I’m sure that the Pepsi Center has plenty of things on tap for the summer.

Part II

All interesting, of course, but there’s one big, stinking red flag in the construction of the arena: the pathetic lack of funding from the Seattle Sonics. Since Bennett is so fond of referring to the Pepsi Center, perhaps he – and the rest of the people involved in this taxpayer-funded nonsense – ought to read this paragraph:

“In Denver a state of the art facility, the Pepsi Center, was developed entirely by private funding. The facility which costs $170 million almost didn't get built when one of the original funding partners pulled out of the deal. .... The two primary teams who would play at the new center are the Nuggets and the Avalanche who had a prior lease agreement with the city at the McNichols arena. In order to break the leases, the city wanted a commitment from the Nuggets and the Avalanche to stay in Denver for 25 years at the new center. The teams resisted. There was a stall of building for 2 years. Finally a deal was struck with the city. The arena would be deeded to the city of Denver when it opened but leased back to the teams for 25 years to ensure they did not move during the span of the city's agreement. During the 25 years the city will take all sales tax proceeds generated by the arena as compensation for the teams breaking their prior leases. Ascent Entertainment Group Inc. who owned the Colorado Avalanche, agreed to pay the arena's construction costs and an exemption on a 10% city/county seat tax. At the end of the 25 years, the teams will own the arena. The city was happy that no tax money was spent and the received additional sales taxes from the Pepsi Center. Major sponsors contributed their funds in exchange for naming rights, such as Pepsi, who contributed millions.”

Now, in the dozens if not hundreds of times that Clay Bennett has mentioned how wonderful the Pepsi Center is, has he ever once mentioned how the Denver pro sports teams contributed $170 million to build it? Not to my knowledge, or else he wouldn’t be offering only $100 million to build a newer, more expensive building that will destroy the viability of KeyArena.

Now, it’s entirely possible that the $100 million in city/private funds will include $70 million from Bennett’s associates, in fact Bennett even mentions that “we are continuing to do the work that will allow us to come forward with an acceptable level of contribution.” Of course, he also says that the reason the Sonics can’t contribute any more is because of the team’s poor financial position, while failing to mention that the horrific on-court product – given to us by the people that still run this team - is almost entirely responsible for that poor financial position. Further, he does not mention at any point who will be forced to cover the – inevitable – cost overruns.

Nor does he mention at any point the irony of building new luxury boxes, which will inevitably sabotage the sales efforts of the Mariners and Seahawks, the same problem KeyArena and the Sonics ran into when their luxury box sales plummeted after the construction of Safeco and Quest Fields. But, hey, that’s a problem for the Seahawks and M’s right?

Look, I’m all for the Sonics being in Seattle, I really am. But I am damned sick and tired of taxpayers being asked to fund projects for private enterprises for billionaires when there are scores of non-publicly financed stadiums across the country and when people in this city are sleeping on the streets.

It’s a bluff, folks, and I pray the legislature sees through it in time. My message to Clay Bennett? Go ahead, move to Oklahoma City. Just don’t start crying when 8,537 show up three years from now to watch Mouhamed Sene fumble yet another entry pass in the low post while Ray Allen and his 36-year-old legs do a statue impersonation at the 3-point line.

Tuesday, January 16

Two in a row! w00t-w00t!

SEATTLE - JANUARY 16: Ray Allen #34 of the Seattle SuperSonics drives against LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 16, 2007 at Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)Dear Supersonicsoul readers:

I apologize for the recent lack of posts, but in case you haven't noticed, it's SNOW-BLIZZARD 2007 outside, and my computer-typing fingers have been frozen. Also, the four-hour season premiere of 24 has been on the last two nights (Spoiler Alert: the world blows up!).

So, in summary, I'm sorry. It won't happen again. Probably. Did I mention the Sonics won their SECOND GAME IN A ROW tonight?! w00t-w00t!



Friday, January 12

Glory Days of '05

Former Seattle Supersonics center Jerome James
As bad as the Sonics have been this year – and it’s been bad – you’ve got to wonder, why the heck are they so terrible? With Lewis, Allen, Wilcox, and Ridnour, you’ve got four average to above-average players, and Collison and Watson are decent bench players, so why is this team struggling so much?

First off, I don’t accept the injury excuse. Robert Swift’s injury, while damaging, is nowhere near as big a deal as the team’s supporters would lead you to believe. And don’t let that “strong pre-season” crap of Swift’s supporters mislead you either. It wasn’t a strong pre-season at all, unless you consider a 33% mark from the field strong. Or 6.7 fouls per 40 minutes. Or 4.2 turnovers per 40 minutes. Obviously, Swift would have been better than Petro, but does that really mean anything? The question is, would Swift have been a significant improvement over Collison and/or Fortson? And, beyond that, considering Collison has gone for 20-10 in each of the past two games – both losses – doesn’t that indicate that it doesn’t matter anyways?

I thought it might help to see what the difference is between this version of the Sonics and the 2004-05 edition. Here’s a quick rundown of the numbers.

2005: 44
2007: 46

FG% Allowed
2005: 46
2007: 48

2005: 36.5
2007: 34

3FG Allowed:
2005: 36
2007: 35

Rebounds-Opponents Rebounds
2005: 41-38
2007: 39-41

Steals-Opponents Steals
2005: 7-6
2007: 8-7

Fouls-Opponents Fouls
2005: 24-24
2007: 23-20

TO-Opponents TO
2005: 14-13
2007: 16-16

FTA-Opponents FTA
2005: 26-26
2007: 23-26

FGA-Opponents FGA
2005: 79-78
2007: 81-80

3FGA-Opponents 3FGA
2005: 22-16
2007: 16-16

Offensive-Defensive Efficiency
2005: 108-106
2007: 108-111

Okay, that’s a lot of statistics to absorb before lunchtime. A few things stand out, though:

1. The Sonics are taking way fewer 3 pointers than they were in 2005, even though they shoot almost as well (36% then to 34% now). I think it might be a good idea to let Damien Wilkins and Luke Ridnour to take more 3’s, considering both of them are hitting close to 40% from beyond the arc.

2. The Sonics are not getting to the line nearly as much as they were before. In 2005, there were five Sonics averaging 3 or more trips to the line a night. In 2007, that has dropped to three players. The biggest difference is Antonio Daniels, who visited the stripe 4 times a night. Contrast that to Earl Watson, who gets there bi-weekly. It’s a bizarre double-dip for a team to decrease both their outside attempts and foul-line attempts in the same season, but that’s the Sonics for you.

3. Rebounding. This is especially noticeable on the defensive end, where the Sonics get killed on a regular basis. Reggie Evans is the key difference, obviously, as no one’s even close to his nearly 10 boards a night.

What can we draw from all of this? Is it helpless?

I think the only solution is to hope for help in the draft. Trading away Rashard or Ray is a short-term fix, and while it would be nice to get out from under Ray’s mammoth contract, he’s not hurting this team. The same goes for Rashard. All the Sonics need is a strong big man who can block shots and rebound.

Perhaps this guy might do the trick.

Thursday, January 11

Sene Sent Down; Sonics Go Down As Well

This is where the Seattle Supersonics sent Sene.  Good luck!The Sonics have sent Mouhamed Sene to Idaho.

No, Bob Hill hasn't decided Sene is better off peeling potatoes, he's only hoping the young center will be able to improve his skills with more minutes. Of course, this was obvious in October, but then, the Sonics don't like to make quick decisions. After all, it's always better to let a guy sit around for 4 months and play 10 minutes every 3 weeks to develop his confidence, right? After all, look how well Johan Petro has played this year. Oh, wait ...

In other news, the Sonics have apparently decided the best way to lose is to lead in the first half and blow chunks in the second. After experimenting with the "fall apart in the 1st quarter and then pretend to mount a comeback" theory popularized by Bob Weiss last year and continued with Hill, they have now settled on the "look good early until the other team gets over its marijuana hangover from the night before and realizes they're losing to the Sonics" routine. It's worked well the past two nights, with equally depressing results.

Depressing, that is, until you look at the standings, where the Sonics are currently only two losses behind Memphis for the most in the league, and the odds-on spot to grab Greg Oden. The Hawks are coming on strong, though, posting a 1-9 mark in their past 10 to rival Seattle's 2-8 spot. Unfortunately, the Sonics still have five more home games coming up on this homestand, with two of them aggravatingly winnable.

Put simply, the Sonics are going to need to find new ways to lose. I suggest looking into Olden Polynice's whereabouts, or perhaps activating Danny Vranes from the taxi squad.

Wednesday, January 10

Sonics Lose; Nick Collison for MVP

PHOENIX - JANUARY 9: James Jones #22 of the Phoenix Suns tries to block the shot of Nick Collison #4 of the Seattle SuperSonics on January 9, 2007 at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2007 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)<br />NBAE/Getty Images<br />As expected, the Sonics lost to the Suns last night in Phoenix. As expected, Steve Nash played well, Shawn Marion played well, and Ray Allen played well.

Unexpectedly, Nick Collison did an impersonation of Wes Unseld.

Collison shocked the world by scoring 29 points and grabbing 21 (!) boards against the Suns, including 10 points in the 4th quarter alone. The Sonics led for most of the first half, but failed in the second half, as they only put 42 on the board in the second after hitting 60 in the first. Most notably, Chris Wilcox (can we start calling him a bust yet?) went scoreless in the second half.

The Ridnour benching continues, with Watson getting 36 minutes to Frodo's 15. Also of note, Mickael Gelabale played a career-high 43 mintues, and scored in double figures for the third consecutive game, helped by his 65% shooting over that span. In his last five games, Gelabale has hit 20 of 30 shots from the field, an astounding number for a perimeter player. The Omen can't be too happy about that.

What happens next? The Sonics host Gary Payton and the Heat tonight at the Key (sadly, the Heat dancers have remained in Florida). Miami has lost 5 of 6, including a 28 point loss to the same Suns the Sonics played pretty well last night. Don't expect to see too much of Gary; he only played 5 minutes against the Blazers after D Wade returned to the lineup.

Shockingly, I think the Sonics might win tonight. If they weren't on the second of a back-to-back and if Miami hadn't been resting for a couple of days, I'd have even more confidence. Still, all things considered, I'll pick the Sonics to win by 7.

Tuesday, January 9

Red Alert!

As acting director of home team security, it is my duty to inform you that Bob Hill's head could explode tonight. Due to the intense pressure of a near-record losing streak and the apparent inability of the team to fire him, the chance of cranial explosion tonight in Phoenix is extremely high. We advise all team personnel to keep their distance from the coach and to stock up on duct tape.

Luke's Cool Hand Hurting Sonics

Seattle Supersonics guard Luke Ridnour

The big story with the Sonics right now – other than their ability to take suckiness to new and previously unseen levels – is Earl Watson usurping the starting PG role from Luke Ridnour.

Now, hey, I like a good usurping as much as the next guy, and Lord knows I’ve rattled on and on for more than anyone about how Earl is more deserving than Luke to hold the reins of this team, but with the Sonics playing the Suns tonight, I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at how Ridnour compares to Steve Nash, the White Man’s Favorite Basketball Player.

Per 40 minutes, First 3 Years

Assists (year 1, 2 and 3)
Ridnour (5.9, 7.5, 8.4)
Nash (8.1, 6.3, 6.9)
Mystery (9.4, 7.9, 6.3)

Ridnour (13.7, 12.8, 13.8)
Nash (12.5, 16.6, 9.9)
Mystery (10.5, 12, 17)

Ridnour (2.9, 2.3, 2.5)
Nash (3.7, 2.4, 2.6)
Mystery (3.2, 2.7, 2.3)

Ridnour (1.9, 1.5, 1.9)
Nash (1.2, 1.5, 1.2)
Mystery (2.9, 2.3, 2.8)

Ridnour (41, 41, 42)
Nash (42, 46, 36)
Mystery (45, 45, 49)

Ridnour (34, 38, 29)
Nash (42, 42, 37)
Mystery (8, 13, 21)

Ridnour (50, 50, 51)
Nash (54, 56, 47)
Mystery (48, 48, 53)

Assist Rate
Ridnour (26, 33, 34)
Nash (35, 27, 34)
Mystery (40, 34, 25)

Ridnour (13, 15, 16)
Nash (11, 16, 11)
Mystery (13, 13, 17)

Looking at the numbers, you can see Ridnour is in Nash’s ballpark for alot of the stats – with the notable exception of 3-point shooting, ironically the same demon which has propelled him to the bench this season.

Bob Hill’s thinking is obvious: Luke Ridnour must start knocking down jump shots for him to be a starter in this league. Hill’s reasoning for benching Luke is, to me, a good one: Part of a being a good shooter is confidence, and until Ridnour figures out that he must take open shots he won’t be a starter. It’s important to know that Luke’s not being benched for missing shots, he’s being benched for not taking them. If Ridnour was shooting terribly (which he has been recently) and that caused the benching then I would disagree with Hill, inasmuch as that might destroy his confidence.

But Luke’s a grown man now, and he’s being paid a grown man’s (actually, about 358 grown men’s) salary. He needs to start acting like it.

Monday, January 8

Wild Weekend

Golden State Warriors' Mickael Pietrus, of France, tries to stop a pass by Seattle SuperSonics' Chris Wilcox in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007, in Oakland, Calif.<br />(AP Photo/Dino Vournas)
Holy crap, what a weekend. The Seahawks utilize Tony Romo's inept ball-handling skillls for a playoff win (and Martin Grammatica's poor blocking abilities - re-watch the play folks, and you'll see Martin give the ole to Jordan Babineaux), the Oregon Ducks knock off #1 UCLA at Mac Court (and, yes, I know they lost to SC on Thursday, but still), Bob Hill benches 3/5 of his starting lineup, Ray Allen drains 7 of 11 3's ...

And the Sonics keep losing.

It's at 11 straight now on the road, and here's Seattle's next slate of road games:

Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Washington, Indiana and Sacramento. Not until they play the Hornets on Feb. 23 will the Sonics have a reasonable shot at winning a road game, which means the road skid could approach 18 games.

Hill’s desperate move of benching Ridnour, Wilkins, and Fortson/Petro helped a bit in the loss to the Warriors, but I still get the feeling Hill’s time in Seattle is growing short. Honestly, I can’t see the Sonics winning any games – road or home – until they play the Bucks 11 days from now.

Friday, January 5

The Scoop on Andre Brown

I’m guessing I wasn’t the only one who knew little or nothing about Andre Brown before the Sonics signed him yesterday. Here’s a brief bio on the newest member of the roster, the man who will turn the Sonics into a playoff contender. (Seriously, Andre, no pressure).

Spent the past couple of months with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBDL. Currently leading the league in points and second in rebounds. Fantastic field goal percentage of 66; not so fantastic FT percentage of 55.

Brown was selected as the 2nd pick in the NBDL draft in November 2006, ahead of Denham Brown, Troy Bell, Darius Washington, and a whole bunch of people even NBA geeks wouldn’t know. Still, he could’ve been picked behind those people, so he’s got that going for him.

Brown also played in Italy and the Adriatic League (where he managed to hit 7 of 23 free throws!), always having good rebounding numbers and decent scoring totals. You may not remember this, but Brown was in the Sonics’ training camp in the summer of 2005, before heading off for South Korea and the Philippines (for the Barangay Ginebra Kings!). Naturally, Brown dominated in the Philippines, inasmuch as he would have been the only person taller than 5’3” in the entire country.

Brown’s most well known experience was for DePaul, averaging close to a double-double during for his four years in school. As could be expected, he shot poorly from the line and great from the field, culminating in a 57% FG/48% FT mark his senior year. He also averaged a couple of turnovers per game, which is another knock on his game (worth noting he’s averaged 3.1 TOs per game at Sioux Falls). He also set a Conference USA record with 27 rebounds in a single game back in the day.

At 6’9” and 245 pounds, Brown isn’t going to destroy anyone inside, but he is a presence. I also doubt that he’s going to block any shots at the NBA level, since he never did in college. According to various internet sources, Brown is very fast for a big man, and has been likened to Kenyon Martin in his ability to run the break and play down low. Ironically, Brown was the second-best player at a pre-draft camp in Norfolk, VA. The best player? Desmond Farmer, the guy the Sonics just released to get Brown.

Basically, I can see Brown playing a few minutes off the bench when the Sonics need a warm body – worthwhile for the team in that it will enable the Sonics to send Sene to the NBDL where he can get some minutes. Does this mean, though, that more moves are to come, like, perhaps, a Fortson trade?

I don’t know. Unless the Sonics can get a big man in return, it doesn’t really make sense to trade Fortson, unless Bob Hill plans on starting Petro and giving up on the season (which, considering who’s available in the draft this year, may not be such a bad idea).

It’s sad, though, that what could turn out to be one of the Sonics’ final seasons in Seattle will be such a lousy year. Sad, but not entirely surprising.

Bye to Desmon, Greek, Hello to Penny Brown?

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 4: Andre Brown #4 of the Sioux Falls Skyforce goes strong to the hoop against Aloysius Anagonye #21 of the Los Angeles D-Fenders on December 4, 2006 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2006 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)<br />NBAE/Getty ImagesCouple of truly minor pieces of news; minor, that is, unless you happen to be related to Desmon Farmer or Andreas Glyniadakis.

Both guys were waived by Seattle on Thursday, ensuring their contracts would not be guaranteed for the remainder of the season. I for one am thankful they released Glyniadakis, simply because his skills aren't good enough to justify a last name that difficult to spell. Elsewhere, Gary Washburn reports in the PI that Penny Hardaway may make his debut for the Sonics tonight against the Knicks (Motto: "You think your team sucks? Hah! We know from suck!")

Bob Hill continues to moan for a center like an alcoholic at closing time, but none seems to be forthcoming, unless you consider the NBDL names being tossed around, which would be near-beer in my convulted metaphor.

However, there is a silver lining to the dark clouds hovering over the Pacific Northwest. That's right, the Knicks are in town, and a win tonight means the Sonics would emerge from the gloomy cellar of the NW Division into the bright lights of fourth place. I know, I know, heady stuff, but January in this part of the world requires a special amount of optimism.

UPDATE: The Sonics signed Andre "NBDL" Brown today. Hello playoffs!

Thursday, January 4

How Long till Lenny?

After the Seattle Sonics 10th straight road loss last night, the Bob Hill death watch has officially begun.

Whether it's today or a week from now, Bob Hill is going to be fired. Despite repeated denials, Sonics vice-chairman (?) Lenny Wilkens (who happens to have the most wins in NBA history and coached the beloved '79 champs) is likely to replace him.

As much as I love Lenny, I will miss Hill. He's a throwback to the angry, profanity-spewing, beer-swilling coaches of old, like Doug Moe and George Karl. And those kind of coaches don't cut it in the NBA anymore.

Will Lenny the Legend make a difference? Probably not.

For better or worse, authority figures today are largely ignored or mocked by anyone under 30. And unless you're a living legend like Pat Riley, it's near impossible to motivate young players by yelling at them. That's probably a good thing, but a makes for a damn boring coach.

A new coach might light a fire under these Sleepy Sonics, and hiring Lenny or even assistant coach Jack Sikma would a be a nice touch for the 40th Anniversary, but whether it makes any difference down the road will remain to be seen.

Wednesday, January 3

Mavs Maul Sonics

Seattle SuperSonics head coach Bob Hill holds his head during a timeout in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007, in Dallas. Dallas won 112-88.<br />(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
What's the opposite of a halftime pep talk? Because that's what we need to call what Bob Hill did last night - the Sonics were outscored by 6 points in the 3rd quarter and by 18 points in the 4th.

With Chris Wilcox continuing to do his best to prove that I was right when I said the Sonics should avoid signing him, Hill is likely one more 3 point-4 rebound night away from dumping the $8 million man in Puget Sound with Andreas Glyniadakis tied around his ankle.

To make things worse, the Sonics are in Houston tonight, where they will undoubtedly fall behind by 12 points in the first quarter, rally in the second, then put on a Mike Wilks Show in the fourth. Seriously, can anyone think of a reason why you would want to watch the Sonics tonight?

The rumors are swirling that the Sonics are looking at NBDL players to fill a void at center, which has got to make you cringe, in that the Sonics have drafted big men with their #1 picks for the past three seasons yet don't have anyone ready to play the position right now.

Oh, right, I forgot, Robert Swift was going to average 20 points and 11 boards this year. My bad.

Tuesday, January 2

New Year, New Rumors

Seattle Supersonics guard Mike Wilks
Is it "go time" foe Wee Wilks?

Like most of us, the Seattle Supersonics woke up this morning with a hell of a holiday hangover. After the thrilling high of a one-game win streak, the Sonics face the harsh realities of the New Year: