For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: `It might have been!`
—John Greenleaf Whittaker
It’s amazing how often timing drastically alters events which, in hindsight, seemed inevitable.
Take, for example, World War I. The causes of the war may be (and has been) argued at length, but were it not for the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand by the Black Hand, it is entirely possible that the events which transpired a century ago, claiming the lives of millions, may never have occurred.
Likewise, the movement of the Sonics to Oklahoma City. A couple of 20/20 hindsight observations:
- What if this economic crisis had occurred two years ago, when Howard Schultz was looking to sell the team? Do you think Aubrey McClendon would be as interested in buying a money-losing proposition when he was fresh off selling shares for which he paid $50 for the rock-bottom price of $15 or $16? I think not.
And, more importantly, as Brian Robinson points out at SonicsCentral:
- What if Greg Nickels had decided to stick his promise of not caving in to the Sonics, regardless of what they offered? Going into this summer, with natural gas prices and his stock value soaring, Aubrey McClendon was flush with cash, as were Clay Bennett and Tom Ward.
But now, after the debacle of the past three months? How likely would those Triplets of Terror be willing to stick out two years of absolutely disastrous revenues in Seattle for the promise of returning to Oklahoma City in 2010?
Granted, these recent events have not taken place in a vacuum. The hardships which affect Aubrey McClendon would also affect the city’s ability to come up with the hundreds of millions of dollars necessary to build an improved KeyArena. And I can’t be certain, nor can anyone else, as to how the past three months would change PBC’s motivations. But only a fool would think it would not, at the very least, give a bit of leverage to the City of Seattle.