Apparently, if the Sonics leave town, you can place the blame squarely on the shoulders of KIRO-TV's Gaard Swanson.
Yes, the man with too many vowels offended Clay Bennett by stating to an Oklahoma City station "nobody cares about whether the Sonics stay in Seattle." (The quote is courtesy of the The Oklahoman, a paper owned by Mr. Bennett's wife, with a tip from a commenter). Mr. Swanson's quote was held up by Mr. Bennett as an illustration of how the Seattle area is apathetic about retaining the Sonics.
You know how when you pull up to a four-way stop and there's no one else around, and you just kind of slow down but never come to a complete stop? In the Northwest it's called a "California" stop, but I've also heard it called an "Oklahoma" stop.
I guess when Mr. Bennett said he intended to use 12 months to explore the situation here and look for alternatives, he meant an "Oklahoma" 12 months, which is really 7 or 8 months.
I suppose I should reserve judgement and toss aside this rhetoric as just, well, rhetoric. And that Mr. Bennett is just saying all of this to ratchet up negotiations with the state so that an arena deal gets done in time for October. And, if all of that comes to pass, most of this talk will be water under the bridge when we're sitting in our $125 seats in the third level with binoculars watching Kevin Durant dunk on Greg Oden as the Sonics cruise past the Blazers for their sixth straight NW Division Title.
And I suppose that continuing to berate Clay Bennett serves no purpose than to irritate his seemingly thin skin. After all, it is difficult at this point to determine where the truth lies - is he truly this frustrated, or is it just posturing?
But I can't help but being a little bothered by Mr. Bennett's continual complaining about the situation here. Yes, the city and state are obstinate in getting a deal done, but he had to have known how difficult the situation was when he entered into it, did he not? Did he really think that Howard Schultz was an oveslick city incompetent and that all this situation needed was a shrewd cowboy from Oklahoma to git 'er done? That the region would just rubber-stamp whatever proposal he threw at them in slobbering love-fest to honor a team that had just held them up for a similar ransom 10 short years ago?
Sorry, but I just do not buy it. I'll wait to reserve judgement until the situation is resolved one way or another, but at the moment, it sure appears that Mr. Bennett's trip to Seattle was truly an "Oklahoma" stop.