Friday, September 28

Friday Wrap-Up

The leaves are changing, the weather is getting colder, and stories about the Sonics are starting to pop up with more frequency in the local papers. Fall is upon us, and basketball season is right behind. Like all northwesterners, seeing summer go away is always a sad time, but knowing that the Sonics are gearing up always eases the pain. (Speaking of which, did I miss summer this year? I understand it was hot everywhere else in North America, but man, those in the PNW sure got screwed in the sunshine department this year).

Back to the wrap-up; Percy Allen has a fine piece on Kevin Durant (Did You Know? Kevin Durant will be throwing out the first pitch at Saturday night's Mariner game. Let's pray that Bill Bavasi doesn't try to trade Durant for a 37-year-old left-handed reliever before KD gets out of Safeco Field).

Gary Washburn outlines the fantastic deal available to 06-07 season-ticket holders. You get to renew your seats and lock in the price for the next three season. No word if that price includes airfare to Oklahoma City, though ...

Eric Williams talks about the Sonics' plan to switch judges in their KeyArena battle. I don't know why the Sonics opted to change judges, and none of the pieces in today's papers have any quotes from the team as to why they were doing this, although Williams does have this cutting quote from the city's Tom Carr:

"This is just one more sign that the Sonics are form shopping. They wanted to arbitrate the case in Denver, and now they want a different judge."

Leave it to Tom Carr to always provide the funniest quote of the day.

Thursday, September 27


As expected, Paul Westhead was named to PJ Carlesimo's staff today. Westhead joins Scott Brooks, Mark Bryant and Ralph Lewis as assistants for the team, with only Lewis returning from last year's group. Westhead was most recently the head coach for the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA, who won the WNBA title on ... oh, come on, does anyone really care about the WNBA?

In other news, Gary Washburn reports that Kevin Durant has inked a deal with Gatorade. Durant joins Dwyane Wade and Kevin Garnett as NBA endorsers of the yellowish swill, which is pretty heady company for the rookie forward. Honestly, I don't know where Durant ranks in the Seattle pantheon of rookies, but he's got to be right there in the top two or three. Griffey, as famous as he was as a rookie, still didn't approach Durant's fame. Perhaps Ichiro, as a well established veteran of the Japanese leagues might merit a higher spot, but that's an apples and oranges situation.

Of course, there's always Rick Mirer ...

Wednesday, September 26


This is something I've been hesitating to say for the past few months, but thought I might as well get it off my chest before I dismiss it entirely:

If the City and/or State decides to be pro-active and build a new arena for the Sonics, and Clay Bennett remains the team's owner, would I be happy with the result?

On the one hand, my favorite team stays in Seattle, and I'm not forced to watch Kevin Durant play in the Western Conference All-Star game as a member of the Oklahoma City Sonics and all the history (Gus Williams, Downtown, Shawn Kemp, GP, JJ, Lenny, et al) stays associated with Seattle.

On the other hand, Clay Bennett and his group benefit tremendously, and their investment of $350 million gets handsomely rewarded. As wonderful as it would feel to be able to watch the Sonics in InsertCorporateSponsorHere Gardens, would that be countered by the feeling of bitterness towards Bennett for the way he blackmailed the city to getting what he wanted?

As a parent, I routinely tread this tightrope: Do you reward your child's bad behavior by giving them something, just so they'll stop crying/fighting/throwing dangerous objects? Or do you stand your ground, force them to their room, and endure 15-20 minutes of screaming? It's a difficult decision to make, and I try to go with the right one (the go to the room option) as often as I can, telling myself that I'm paying 15 minutes of screaming now for in return for future calm.

I see a strong parallel in the two situations. Bennett, like a four year old, is whining and pouting because he can't get what he wants. He's hoping that said pouting will result in getting the treat (a new arena) he wanted, but are we not equally culpable if we give him this treat?

Honestly, I don't know the answer. In a perfect world, Bennett would throw up his hands later this year, sell the team to local ownership, and a consortium of municipal, state, and private parties would work together to build a suitable arena for the team. In that world, David Stern rides in on a white horse to save the day by brokering a deal to give peace to the Northwest.

But that may not happen, and we could be faced with the first option, wherein we get to keep our team, but in the process reward the man who threatened to take it away. You've got to ask yourself: Is it worth it?

Tuesday, September 25

Supersonicsoul: It's Fantasy-astic!

Actual computer used for Supersonicsoul Fantasy League.

In case you missed the news, we launched the official Supersonicsoul NBA Fantasy League over the weekend. It's already half-full (or half-empty, if you're some kind of jerk), so if you want to get in on the action (I'm talking to you, Nussbaum!), just hit me with an email and I'll get you an invite.

Monday, September 24


Ah, it just gets better and better. Now, according to the Seattle Times, the City of Seattle has launched a lawsuit against the Sonics' ownership in an attempt to force them to honor their lease and remain at KeyArena until 2010. The lawsuit would also try to block the team from using arbitration to settle the dispute.

It's not often that a munipality is pitted as the David in a David v Goliath situation, but this is shaping up to be a hum-dinger of a battle. On the one hand you've got Slade Gorton (whom, as Paul mentioned earlier, is known as 'Senator Skeletor' in these parts) representing the good people of King County. On the other, you've got Carpetbagger Clay and his buddies from Oklahoma, represented by a Seattle law firm (!).

To paraphrase Michael Buffer, "Let's get ready to wrangle!"


UPDATE: I wouldn't normally provide a link to another paper's story on the same subject, but you've got to read the PI's story, written by Gene Johnson, if only for the quote from the attorney representing the City, Tom Carr. Here's Carr's quote in regard to the Sonics' profitability, or lack thereof, at KeyArena:

"The issues with the Sonics' profitability at KeyArena have less to do with KeyArena than with the Sonics' ability to defend the high pick and roll."

It's not everyday a city employee has 1) a sense of humor, 2) is a lawyer, and 3) knows basketball terminology. Looks like we're 3-for-3 with Tom Carr.

Saturday, September 22

Sonics Weekend Update

The top Seattle Supersonics stories from the past week . . .

Bruce Baskin of the Seattle P.I. takes a look at the top Sonics drafts of all time.

Did I mention we had a Save Our Sonics comedy show? It was awesome, and you should really go to the next one.

Meanwhile, Big Boy Bennett is still trying to weasel out of his lease.

The Oklahoma vultures may want our Sonics, but the Storm? Not so much.

Did I mention we started an official Supersonicsoul fantasy league? Well, we did, and you should join. Send me an email and I'll hook you up.

Friday, September 21

More on Press Conference

The Times' Jim Brunner (as always) has a strong summary of the situation, with some stirring quotes from Mayor Greg Nickels.

A Fan's Take

As I linked below, the Arbitration Demand filed by the Sonics’ ownership is now available on-line. I thought it might be instructive to read the document, and, well, poke a few holes in the arguments therein.

“... the Sonics have worked diligently with elected officials to obtain a suitable multipurpose facility for the future beyond 2010.” [page 1, line 8]

If by “worked diligently,” they mean “came up with a $500 million project the Sonics’ would not pay $0.01 towards,” then, yes, the Sonics worked diligently.

“ ... for many years KeyArena has not been economically viable for men’s professional basketball.” [1, 20]

Interesting, because it was revealed earlier this year that the one time in the past half-decade when the Sonics qualified for the playoffs, the team actually turned a profit and/or broke even. Add in the tax benefits accrued by deducting Sonic losses from other business ventures, and the increase in annual value of the franchise, and methinks you doth protest too much, Mr. Bennett.

“... City officials have repeatedly acknowledged that there will be little or no cultural or economic impact on the City if the Sonics leave.” [2, 1-2]

This is cherry picking. Some members of the city council have argued this tact, just as others on council argued the opposite. Expecting a city council to unanimously support something, then expressing surprise when it fails to is a specious argument.

“... the relationship between the Sonics and the City’s elected leaders is all but gone.” [2, 2-3]

As Louis Armstrong sings, it takes two to tango. Mr. Bennett is at least as culpable in the current acrimony as any member of council.

“Likewise, a majority of the public has accepted the team’s imminent departure.” [2, 4]

A majority of every city’s population – Oklahoma City included – is apathetic when it comes to sports, otherwise teams would play in arenas with capacities of 500,000 rather than 20,000. Did Mr. Bennett expect the city to be less than skeptical of out-of-town ownership moving their team when it has already been attempted with the other two professional teams in Seattle?

“The reality is that even if the City were right ... it simply delays the Sonics’ departure by two years and hurts the City.” [3, 8-9]

Left unsaid is that it makes it more likely for an acceptable arena to be built, which was the whole reason for doing this. Is it not hypocritical to criticize the city for apathy on the one hand, then criticize them for fighting to keep the team with the other?

“To that end, PBC began an exhaustive exploration of alternatives by which the Sonics could stay in Seattle ...” [4, 18-19]

This is a dubious claim. While no one except the Sonics’ ownership is privy to the “alternatives” mentioned, the fact that numerous alternatives (e.g., Sabey, Muckleshoot) have been proposed and dismissed is illustrative to the true nature of the “exploration.”

“KeyArena is no longer an economically viable facility for men’s professional basketball [and has a limited] point of sale opportunities for food, beverages, and merchandise. ... AT&T Center (San Antonio) has 11,400 ...” [6-10-21]

Funny, I seem to remember reading something recently where the Spurs were less than satisfied with their situation as well.

“The problems with KeyArena were aptly summarized in The Seattle Times: ... ‘soon, KeyArena was dwarfed by larger, more lucrative NBA arenas.’” [7, 15-20]

This is the essence of the problem, in my view: Building NBA arenas nationally is a zero-sum game. It is inevitable that whatever arena is built in Seattle, within one decade it will become the poor sister to its siblings across the country. Sacramento, Orlando, Las Vegas, wherever; competing cities will construct new monstrosities that will compel Bennett & Co. to come crying to the City asking for another handout.

“... there is a considerable record showing, at best, profound community indifference about whether the Sonics stay or leave.” [8, 7-8]

Granted, Seattle doesn’t have the vast experience of hosting an NBA franchise as Oklahoma City, but I think 40 years of above-average attendance, multiple fan sites supporting the team (I ask you: Where are the Oklahoma City NBA sites?) would counter Bennett’s argument.

“The lack of interest is borne out by the television ratings for Sonics’ games. They have declined from an already low 3.12 rating in 2004-2005 to a 1.6 rating in 2006-07 – a drop of nearly 50 percent.”

Gee, do you think that following up the only playoff appearance of the Bush Administration with consecutive seasons of 31 and 35 wins had anything to do with that? And have you missed the millions of articles the past few years bemoaning declining NBA ratings nation-wide, and how the NBA Finals is annually “the worst-rated Finals in NBA history?” Using declining TV ratings to justify your opinion of community apathy is ridiculous.


Well, that’s enough for one day. I’ll leave it to the lawyers to analyze the most important piece of this document, whether specific performance is relevant to lease enforcement, or if the Sonics are free to go after cutting a check to the City next June. At this point, the only arbitrator needed is one David Stern. Mr. Stern, you can prevent this legal crap from continuing by stepping in and forcing Bennett to either deal honestly with the city or sell the team. Before Bennett leaves town, it MUST be required that he offer the team back to local ownership at the present value of the club, and NOT at the inflated price he paid to Howard Schultz. His stupidity in overpaying for the team should not be revisited upon the next buyer of the club.

Bennett Press Conference

I'm late getting to this, but Clay Bennett had a press conference scheduled at 11 am today to speak on a number of issues. Whenever I get some info on what happened, I'll pass it along.


And here you go. According to the Times, Clay Bennett has filed for a demand for arbitration in order to void the final two years of his lease for Key Arena. More to come later as I get more info.


At first blush, the easy way to look at this situation is to say that Bennett is attempting to get out of his lease with the City, and is crossing his t's legally by filing for arbitration. Casual fans (such as ourselves) could easily paint this in a negative light as yet another log being tossed onto the bonfire by Bennett.

And, honestly, I can sympathize with that sentiment. But after everything that has happened, this doesn't really change anything. I'm sure the city had to anticipate Bennett wouldn't just go along with their demands for him to honor his lease; not after the way he and his partners have acted since purchasing the team less than twelve months ago.

So, before we get all of our knickers in a twist about today's press conference, just remember that nothing has changed. Bennett and McClendon & Co. still want to move to Oklahoma City, numerous folks are fighting them, and now an arbitrator will decide if the Sonics' ownership is legally obligated to fulfill the terms of the lease, or if they can vacate the premises at the end of the upcoming season.

UPDATE NO. 2: Courtesy of The Seattle Times, here's the demand for arbitration document. It's a PDF file.

Thursday, September 20


Fantasy basketball time is nearly upon us, and has a position-by-position article up at the moment, detailing who to avoid and who to select (number one is Kevin Garnett; number 366 is David Wesley; sadly, Gary Payton is number 360).

Here's a quick peak at how they ranked the Sonics (note that the rankings are for the respective position, not overall):

Point Guard: Delonte West (#32), Luke Ridnour (36), Earl Watson (39). Surprising that West would rank above the other two. I think I would go Ridnour-West-Watson, but it's a total guess regardless, and until pre-season draws to a close, we won't have any idea who's going to get the minutes this year.

Shooting Guard: Damien Wilkins (36). Wally Szczerbiak's agent is on the phone now. If only they had separate categories for "Ankle Sprains " or "Hair Gel Used/40 minutes" ...

Small Forward: Kevin Durant (10), Jeff Green (29). How sad is it that two guys that haven't played a minute in the NBA are ranked higher than any of the half-dozen guys we've got playing the two guard positions?

Power Forward: Chris Wilcox (21). I have nothing funny to say about this one.

Center: Nick Collison (22). No love for Bob Swift here (yeah, I'm calling him Bob this year, I think he deserves a fresh start; it was either that or 'Bobby', and Bobby Swift sounds like a small bird). Johan Petro and Mo Sene failed to qualify as well, although Mo will definitely be a top 10 pick in the NBDL fantasy draft.

Wednesday, September 19


After reading this article the other day which painted Kevin Durant is less than a stellar light, you can see another, more optimistic, opinion here. Suffice it to say that "Durant" and "Jordan" appear in a comparison, and the comparison isn't negative.


No doubt you've read by now how Andrei Kirilenko wants to be traded away from "Robot Coach" Jerry Sloan and the Utah Jazz. Aside from the fact that his wanting out of Utah instantly makes him one of my favorite players, does it make sense for the Sonics to pursue the former all-star? After all, he's on the hook for four more seasons and $63 million, so it's not as though we're looking at a quick pick-me-up. Add in the fact that the Sonics aren't going to realistically compete for the playoffs anytime soon and, well, ...

As I see it, the Sonics have only one hope of acquiring AK-47, and that's by dealing away Kurt Thomas and some draft picks. Cap-wise, a deal including Kurt Thomas, Damien Wilkins, and a #1 pick (maybe a future Suns' pick?) MIGHT be enough to make it happen. The Jazz acquire a player Sloan might like (Wilkins) and a player he would definitely like (Thomas), plus Thomas' contract expires this June to boot. Add in the benefit of shedding themselves of AK's contract and malcontentedness as well as the pick, and it's a possibility. I'll look at how Kirilenko would fit into the Sonics' roster later on, but be aware that any deal involving Thomas will be held up for about two months because he was recently acquired via trade (however, I'm not 100% sure of that; for some reason I had the idea that players acquired via trade where they are the only player moving don't have a trade restriction; on the other hand, says Thomas has a trade restriction, so who knows).

Anyway, it's a starting point for discussion, so feel free to offer your opinion on whether the Sonics ought to acquire AK.

Tuesday, September 18


I wanted to put together a thorough look at the feasibility study presented by the Muckleshoot’s consultants, but time constraints prevent me from wasting, err, spending too much time on that, so here’s a quick look at what I found from reading the document.

- A great deal of the article looks at the relative financial health of this market as opposed to seven similar NBA markets. The conclusion drawn is that 1) Seattle is strong relative to those markets and 2) Seattle is strong relative to the rest of the NBA, especially in regard to EBI (effective buying income) and population size, and even moreso when one looks at how the future may go. For example, Seattle stands at 112% of the national average in EBI (these numbers are from here, not from the consultants). Oklahoma City? Try 83%. According to the consultants, by 2011, Seattle’s EBI will rank 9th or 10th in the league. Care to hazard a guess where OKC would fit in? It just further convinces me that the NBA would be unbelievably foolish to move a team from the Greater Puget Sound and give it to Oklahoma City. The only rational reason for doing so would be to augment the blackmailing tactics the league will use/uses in other cities, because it would be financial suicide for the NBA to trade Seattle for OKC, and that’s not even considering the impact on television ratings.

- Along those same lines, here is the consultant’s summary of Seattle’s economic picture in relation to the NBA: “Seattle’s significant wealth and comparatively small average household size allow for higher levels of entertainment spending and present an attractive events center market.” In other words, not only is Seattle’s population much larger than OKC’s, but it’s percentage of population with higher incomes is among the highest in the NBA (top 4), and it’s percentage of income spent on entertainment ranks 5th in the NBA.

- The figure put forth to get this project done is $415 million. I looked at the numbers they used to get to $415, and it got me to thinking: How much would it cost to renovate KeyArena to an acceptable level for the NBA? Would it cost ½ as much? 2/3 as much? I’m not an economist or a project manager by any means, but the figure would have to be considerably lower, and bear in mind that the $415 million doesn’t include transportation improvements, which will absolutely be necessary to finish this deal. If you think otherwise, take a look at this picture included in the report, which is a view of the proposed site. Think 18,500 people would be able to use that road for a Sonic playoff game?

Your Tuesday Morning Sonics Report

Sonics news from around the internets:

Our pal Mike Seely at the Seattle Weekly weighs in on Muckleshoot Mania.

Meanwhile, the vultures in Oklahoma are starting to realize that stealing our team might not be so easy. (via the News Tribune)

Have I mentioned I'm hosting COMICS FOR SONICS tonight? I did? Well did I mention there will be raffles and fabulous Supersonics door prizes? Ah-ha! Well, now I did.

Monday, September 17

Sonic Notes for a Monday

Paul Westhead has been offered a spot on PJ Carlesimo’s coaching staff, according to Norm Frauenheim of the Arizona Republic. Westhead is currently the head coach of the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA and has known PJ for 30 years. The casual observation is that Westhead would provide offensive know-how to Carlesimo’s defensive excellence. ... Sonicscentral has good coverage of the rumored deal between the Muckleshoot Indian Casino and the Sonics. The press conference today from the Muckleshoot folks was in regard to the feasibility of an arena at their casino, and NOT any agreement to build an agreement, which would obviously keep Clay Bennett’s team firmly in Seattle for the long-term. According to this story by Jeff Meisner in the Puget Sound Business Journal, the cost of a new stadium on the tribe’s land would be $452 million, about $78 million less than the previous arena proposal in Renton. Of special note in the study the Muckleshoot presented today (put together by Brailsford & Dunlavey) is the statement that luxury boxes and suites in the Seattle area have reached a “saturation point,” and that no additional suites beyond what are currently in KeyArena would be built – which completely goes against what Howard Schultz was complaining about two years ago. From what Schultz, and to a degree, Clay Bennett, said, one would get the impression that more suites were needed to keep up the pace with the other newly constructed arenas in the NBA. But what this study details is that is untrue, and that additional suites would sit vacant. In addition, the new stadium the tribe proposes would seat 18,500. And, as Jim Brunner points out in the Seattle Times, Brailsford & Dunlavey’s consultant indicated “improvements to roads in the area would likely be required.” In other words, $450 ain’t even close to the total bill on this deal.

Comics for Sonics--TUESDAY NIGHT!

Seattle comedian Paul Merrill host this show next week.The line-up has been announced for tomorrow night's "Comics for Sonics" benefit show for Save Our Sonics, and it's pretty damned impressive, if I don't say so myself:Travis Simmons, Harrold Gomez, Brad Upton, and headlined by Rod Long.

(NOTE: Despite what the poster says, it's really only $10!)

If you aren't familiar with the Seattle comedy scene, these folks are all headliners and outside of Bumbershoot, you would never see them all in one show. I also heard there might be a surprise guest appearance from a certain Last Comic Standing runner-up. (Oh, and the editor of Supersonicsoul is hosting it, but don't let that dissuade you.)

Since it's for a good cause (and for only ten bucks) this is a show you don't want to miss.

(Click on Raf's awesome poster for details.)

Friday, September 14


This is a thoroughly unscientific piece of research, but after Greg Oden's season-ending microfracture surgery on Thursday, the oddsmakers have made some changes as to how likely the Blazers are to win the Finals.

Previous to yesterday, you could get about 50/1 odds on either Seattle or Portland to win the Finals. However, at this morning, the Sonics are still listed at 50/1, while the Blazers have dropped to 65/1.

The crazy thing is, the Blazers are still better than the Sonics, even without Oden, right? Yes, they've lost Zach Randolph and now Oden, but they've got Brandon Roy back in what should be an even better season, Jarrett Jack, and improving LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Fernandez, a healthy Raef LaFrentz (I kid), and, well, I just see the Blazers winning more games this season than a Sonic team that features two rookies and a bunch of other guys. Maybe the oddsmakers expect more from Kevin Durant than me, but I just can't see the Sonics winning more games than Portland this season, injuries aside.

Thursday, September 13

Oden Out for Year

Unbelievable. According to multiple sources (here's one of them), Greg Oden is out for the year after having exploratory surgery on his knee in Vancouver on Thursday. I'm not sure if they meant Vancouver, BC or Vancouver, WA, but I'm assuming it's the Washington one, since the line-up for health care in BC would mean that Oden would get his surgery sometime next March.

More to come later, but, wow, that sucks for Portland.

Thanks to Frank for the tip in the comments section.

Locked On Jazz

As previously mentioned in Gary Washburn's blog at the PI, David Locke has relocated to Salt Lake City, taking over the pre- and post-game Jazz shows as well as hosting a sports radio show on KJZZ (and, yes, I agree that KJZZ sounds like something you'd by at a sex shop for $7.99).

Here's Locke's take on returning to SLC, including paying homage to the wonderful Jazz franchise.

You know, if I was running the Sonics, I think my first two questions to potential broadcasters would be:

1. Do you now or have you ever before rooted for the Portland Trail Blazers?
2. Do you now or have you ever before rooted for the Utah Jazz?

A yes to either question would be grounds for a non-hire, at least to me.

Can Gorton save another Seattle team?

According to the Seattle Times, former senator Slade Gorton has been enlisted to help save the Sonics. Gorton (known as "Senator Skeletor" in my household) was instrumental in keeping the Mariners in town, which almost makes up for the years he spent trying to dump poison in the Cascades.

If the hard-nosed lobbyist can pull this off, perhaps he'll be remembered as "Gorton the Great" instead of "Cyanide Slade".

Wednesday, September 12

Model Franchise

I think it's safe to say that Clay Bennett has modeled his current franchise on the San Antonio Spurs. From his GM to his coach to his "culture" mindset, it's evident that what you see in San Antonio is what Clay Bennett would like to see in the Puget Sound (or, Oklahoma, depending on your level of cynicism; at supersonicsoul, our level of cynicism for Mr. Bennett is currently at "Used Car Salesman" level and on the verge of "Politician During Election Campaign").

The reason I bring this up is in regard to the current stadium debate in Seattle, and how it ties in with an interesting piece of news from San Antonio, Mr. Bennett's land of milk and honey, where everyone is a Republican, speaks with the proper accent, and the NBA team wins 70% of its games.

For those of you too lazy to read the article, it boils down to this:

The Spurs got a $193.5 million stadium from the city of San Antonio five years ago. Now they want $164 million to upgrade the ancient edifice because "without new sources of revenue, [the Spurs] cannot pay the player salaries that would allow the team to keep winning."

In other words, the great seers of San Antonio, who can forecast a player's ability to succeed with phenomenal accuracy, who can tell that an obscure Argentinian and an unknown Belgian would vault them to heights unforeseen in the NBA, do not possess the ability to make a profit in a five-year-old stadium when they are the reigning NBA Champions?

This tells me two things:

1. The NBA structure must be horribly out of whack if the NBA Champs are struggling financially with a stadium that is a year older than my pre-school aged daughter; and

2. No matter how much money the City of Seattle throws away on a new Sonic Arena, within 5-10 years that building will be insufficient to meet the team's needs.

Call me a cynic, call me an oversimplifier of unbelievably complicated situations, but I am slowly reaching the boiling point for this arena situation. As far as I'm concerned, the NBA and their owners and their messed-up system can go jump in a lake. If you took all the sales taxes paid towards arenas and stadia in the past two decades, you could probably build a home for every poor family in the United States. Instead, we as citizens continue to subsidize these lying blackmailers out of fear of "losing our team." And yet, these owners and leagues continue to peddle flim-flam schemes that would make the Music Man proud, pawning one city off another, using one city's new toy arena as a threat to extort a new arena for themselves.

At what point do we say enough is enough?


It's become common knowledge that every year in the NFL, one team will come from nowhere to make the playoffs. A team everyone expected to go 5-11 will run off a couple of shocking wins, vaulting them into double-digit win territory.

With that in mind, who can we expect on the Sonics this season to make a leap? I would exclude Kevin Durant and Jeff Green from the equation, since they're both rookies, but those two aside, who are you looking at that would answer the question at the end of the season: Wow, did you see that coming?

There are a couple of possibilities. Right off the bat is Robert Swift, a 7' center who has done nothing in the NBA other than tantalize, but who has hit the weights hard during his rehabilitation period. It's certainly possible that Swift could register a 10-10 season this year, and it's equally likely he could put up a 5-3 year as well. Considering what I've read about other players recovering from his type of injury, I think for this year at least, we're looking at the latter more than the former.

Another option would be Earl Watson or Luke Ridnour. I believe that one of these guys will earn the reigns to this squad in 2007/08, and will get the minutes that go along with it. If you give Frodo 33 minutes a night, he'll definitely post at least 11-12 ppg and 6 to 8 assists. Likewise with Watson. Coming off disappointing years for both of them, it's possible that Earl or Luke could be the answer.

Or, perhaps Chris Wilcox. Wilcox has the physical ability, will likely get the minutes required, and it's not entirely unrealistic to expect him to average 15-16 points and 8 boards a game. However, it's more likely he'll finish with his usual 13-7.

That's why I think the one guy who could surprise everyone this year is ... Wally Szczerbiak. Call me crazy, but if Wally gets 30 minutes a night, doesn't get hurt, and gets the touches you would expect a starting shooting guard to get, he could average upwards up 17 points a game.

What's that you say? That your humble narrator skewered the Sonics for acquiring this oft-injured marshmallow of a guard not three months ago? Touche, I confess to the earlier insults. But if you look at Wally's numbers, you have to assume that last year's 41% mark from the field is an aberration; other than his dismal 06/07 campaign, the guy routinely shot 48 to 50% from the floor, and that's not Jerome James-type shots, either. I think alot of Wally's problems last year came from lauching too many outside shots (he averaged nearly 5 3FGA per 40 minutes which is nearly double his career average). If he can be mobile enough to get off some inside shots, it's not crazy to think he might hit on 45% to 49% of his attempts, which makes averaging 16 or 17 ppg not so off the charts.

So there you go. Wally Szczerbiak is my nominee for Most Surprising Player for the 2007/08 season (and, yes, I'm fully aware that he might be dealt in February, but what can I do?). Feel free to submit your own nominees in the comments section.

Monday, September 10

Council Comes Through

As reported by the Seattle Times' Jim Brunner, the Seattle City Council has approved a motion that would ensure the Sonics fulfill their lease with the City and KeyArena, keeping the team in town until 2010.

No word from Clay Bennett - yet - but I would expect some gobblegook about "legal action" and "negotiations" tossed about at some point. $50 says Bennett has one of his legal experts parrot the company line about how this ordinance is irrelevent and meaningless.

Kind of like Clay Bennett's promises.

My two worlds collide next week!

Seattle comedian Paul Merrill host this show next week.As some of you may know, one of my "other jobs" (along with video game writing, diaper-changing, and nap-taking) is stand-up comedy. Next Tuesday, I'll finally be able to use my comedic powers for good instead of evil, hosting a Save Our Sonics fund-raising/petition signing party at Mainstage Comedy and Music (right across from the Sonics team store at Key Arena) at 7pm.

Click on Raf's awesome poster for details.

Glove's Next Move

Intersting quote from Aaron Goodwin, Gary Payton's agent (and Kevin Durant's, by the way), in, regarding Payton's next destination.

"He's deciding if he's going to take another crack at playing one more season, or maybe go to Seattle and work in some sort of management position, or go into TV color commentary," Goodwin said.

I don't know if Goodwin means a management position with the Sonics, or with Goodwin's agency, but I would assume he means the Sonics. The only problem is I have no idea where Payton would fit in "Sonic Management." Considering the way the last Sonic hero's tenure in Sonic Management ended, I can't see Clay Bennett getting all lathered up to hire GP. Likewise, the Sonic assistant coach staff has been filled, so there's no room for him there, either (not that PJ Carlesimo would be too excited about giving Payton a job to begin with). And, finally, with the hiring of Marques Johnson and Steve Jones, he's out of luck in a commentator role, at least in Seattle.

So, I have no idea what Goodwin is talking about, unless it's just to stoke the embers of his player's dying NBA fire. Shocking as it may seem, I've heard agents do that on occasion.

Friday, September 7

Sonics Snap Up New Color Man

Well, I'm back from 10 days of vacationing in Southern British Columbia, soaking in every last bit of sun before the six months of rain begin in October. While I was away, it appears not much of anything took place, with the exception of Sonic management continuing to pratfall their way in the poorest example of public relations since Ford sold the Edsel.

One wonderful piece of news emerged, though; the Sonics hired Steve Jones and Marques Johnson to take over the color commentary role. Some folks may be less than thrilled about Jones' hiring, but I am not one of them. Having lived in Oregon for 5 years in the mid-90s, I can tell you that Snapper is by far the best color man I've ever listened to. He knows the game, he's got a great voice, he has just a bit of humor (granted, not as much as Marques), and he's enjoyable to listen to in a non-intrusive sort of way.

In other words, he's basically the oppposite of Bill Walton. Better yet, we get MJ, too, which means we've gone from Craig Ehlo and Lenny Wilkens to Jones and Johnson, which is kind of like trading in a Chevy Corsica with a broken car seat for a Jaguar XJ6 with Salma Hayek in the trunk.

Thursday, September 6

Muckleshoot back in the race?

Clay Bennett is not a man who likes to be rushed.

According to the Seattle Times, "Big Boy" Bennett finally took a look at the proposed Auburn stadium site, a mere ten months after hearing the initial proposal from the Muckleshoot tribe.

Bennett didn't make any comment afterwards, but previously stated that the tribe had not presented him with a "substantive arena plan". Really?
The Muckleshoots, who own the Emerald Downs land, have hired the consulting firm Brailsford & Dunlavey to study whether a new arena would work next to the track, 25 miles south of Seattle.

The tribe last month said its consultant's initial research indicated the location could work. The tribe is expected to release more detailed information this month.
Oh yeah. He's really "exploring every option", isn't he?

Wednesday, September 5

Does the Glove still fit?

What's with all these old guys making comebacks?

First the Celtics try to lure Reggie Mlller out of the old folks home, and now this:

Eric Williams over at the News Tribune blog takes a look at possible starting point guards for the Sonics, including a couple of long shots named Sam Cassell and . . . Gary Payton?!

Read about it here.

Tuesday, September 4

Doug Christie anyone? Anyone?

According to the Sacramento Bee, Doug Christie is eying a comeback, and the Seattle Supersonics are on the short long list of teams he's considering:
Christie said there have been talks with seven teams, although only two have had "real high interest." He would not name any of the clubs, only that one of the best chances is in the West and one is in the East. He did say there have been no conversations with the Kings.

The preference is to land with a championship contender, which only makes sense -- he gets a shot at a ring, just as it is unlikely a team in building mode would invest minutes in a 37-year-old wing. But it is not a concrete rule for Christie.

If the SuperSonics called, there would be a great appeal to playing in his hometown. If the Kings called, doubtful given the depth they have at shooting guard and small forward, there would be a definite lure to return to a city his family enjoyed.

Read the rest here.
I have no interest in seeing Doug Christie in a Sonics uniform, but at least it might help burn this image from my brain.