Friday, April 25

More Email Fodder

Clay Bennett, writing in response to an email from the NBA’s Maureen Coyle, passed along to him by way of Brent Gooden, Bennett’s PR representative, on April 15, 2007. Coyle had proposed that Bennett make a gesture of allowing the Sonics name and colors to remain in Seattle, while the franchise relocated to Oklahoma City. Bennett’s response:

“[The concept Maureen Coyle] has put forth is excellent, but it does presuppose expansion which I don’t think is in the cards. Thirty is the right number for many reasons and with instability in Memphis, Atlanta, Charlotte, Sacramento and with Las Vegas, Anaheim, San Jose, Nashville and others in play, not to mention the China expansion, there is a lot to work on.”
Obviously, Bennett is not solely responsible for doling out expansion franchises, so his opinion his just that, his opinion.

That said, it is a learned opinion (hey, you in the back, quick guffawing). Learned in that he has talked to David Stern about this subject as much or more often than just about anyone on this planet.

Why do I bring this up? Because Clay Bennett sat in front of a packed news conference a week ago today and completely contradicted everything he said in that email. Bennett stated (and I wish I had the transcript to quote him, but I will be relying upon memory here) that his willingness to leave the colors and name in Seattle was NOT a throwaway gesture on his part at all, despite what the media had argued previously. In fact, of all of his comments from that day, he seemed to increase his indignance level up the highest when asked about the subject.

Well, is that true at all? Considering that, first, Bennett and his people seem intent on re-branding the Sonics when they arrive in Oklahoma City, and, second, holding out hope for an expansion is as useful as looking for oceanfront property in Tulsa, is there any inherent value in the promise to keep the Sonics’ name and colors?

Sadly, no. Just like every other promise we have heard from Bennett & Stern Snake Oil Inc. for the past twelve months, it’s not worth a whole lot.


Anonymous said...

You know... I've been thinking about all of this, and it just seems so crazy...

How is this all going to end?

Stern just continues to support Clay (no matter what evidence comes up). They could find a smoking gun and Stern would still back Clay...

So, I just don't know how all this will end up. It seems like Stern is going to relocate out of spite, but doesn't that leave a HUGE dent on the NBA's reputation???

I would think that if more and more evidence comes forward, and he just keeps saying, "the sonics are moving no matter what", then others in the NBA ranks should become concerned about the NBA's image and appeal in the long term...

It's like saying, "Oh yeah, Clay Lied... but we don't care, we're going to move the team anyway". What does that say to other cities or even international expansion? This is really starting to get too deep for the NBA to come out on top...

If they stop the relocation, they lost a little bit of face, and they may hear jeers for a few years, but that is nothing compared to the long term damage they may do to the whole league if they continue to ignore the obvious facts.

Jordan Nelson said...

After observing everything that has happened thus far, I have a question: How can we ever go back? Even if this works out in the best way possible for us and the current Sonics organization stays in Seattle under new ownership, how can we remain fans of the NBA? I will love the team if they stay, and I'll love Schultz and Nickels and Ceis and Gorton and Ballmer for making it happen, but how can I ever love the NBA again? After seeing just how dirty David Stern is willing to get, just how willing to lie he is for the profit of his league and owners, I just don't see how I can ever be a fan again. I mean, all the points you make, Nuss, don't they leave deeper questions? The integrity of the entire league is compromised. Its just a sad day for the NBA, and its shameful that ESPN and SI and the AP are stifling this as much as they can. Well, not necessarily stifling, but they seem to be doing as little as possible to bring our side of the story to light; every story posted tonight says "Move Inevitable!" Not, "The NBA and David Stern are in deep shit!" I am just so done over with the NBA right now. Its just all so shady; how are we to pledge our undying support to an organization who blatantly lies and intentionally deceives its supporters to get what they want? Are we to reward their dishonesty with our hard earned dollars and our fandom?

Anonymous said...

Very good point... Jordan...

I agree with that entire statement. It really puts the fans in a difficult situation. As you said, even if we keep the team, we still lose (a little respect and a bitter taste is left) because of the shadiness of the league's leadership.

Anonymous said...

Of course Stern is backing Bennett. Clay & Co. paid an extra $100 M over market value for the franchise, and by extension, reset the value of every other franchise up, way up. That's enough reason right there for Stern to turn his face on our fair city. New York just announced a remodel of The Garden for less than the $425 M the NBA is demanding of our tax dollars, and none of that amount is public money. The Dodgers are remodeling Dodger Stadium for $500 M, again, no public money. Since we've already paying for 3 stadiums (Safeco, QWest, and still the Kingdome) and The Key, they've decided the bar is higher for us suckers.
But other the offhand comments about Hong Kong and Shanghai, has the NBA said what their plans are for playing there? Transpacific travel means all kinds of big big problems - imagine playoffs, and players forced to live abroad. But the money from expansion would be tremendous for the owners. especially if the franchise values are set higher by Stern's pal Bennett.

Samuel said...

Simple: you will continue to love the NBA because of the players, coaches, and fans that make it great. Before this whole Bennett fiasco, I never gave a crap about Stern and thought he was a smarmy, weasely little man. Once this drama is put to rest and we have our team back, I'll hate Stern a little bit more, but my passion for the game itself will be untarnished.

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