Thoughts about the recent “open letter” by Sonicsgate producers Adam Brown and Jason Reid

I'm not the first (and probably won't be the last), and I'll bet this gets ignored too. Just the way it is in life I suppose. But I have thoughts about Seattle and this whole bit of "Don't hate us".  Sorry Adam Brown and Jason Reid, I empathasize with your plight. I know what it's like to live in a city without a NBA team. I moved up there right as the Sonics were shifting to leave under Clay Bennett's lying ass. (About the only thing I disagree with Bennett on even though I understand Bennett would have never gotten his dream of a team in OKC either without doing so.) I watched Sonicsgate and found it insightful and a strong point. 

First thought is really a very condensed version of how I will later pontificate on: Fuck you.

I don't really care whether Seattle fans want us to hate them, but the truth is, I don't care about their plight at all in this. I don't want to be one of them, and even living in Seattle for 5 years has especially intensified that. My sporting experiences come from being a Kings fan, and to a significantly lesser degree an Oakland A's fan. I'm not part of Oakland; Oakland isn't my hometown. I just happened to like the A's because of Rickey Henderson way back when. For some strange reason, I'm still a fan, but I do not hold unconditional love. I do not care whether they leave Oakland or stay. I could care less if the franchise moved to the Moon or San Jose. Makes no difference to me. It doesn't actually effect my plight at as a fan. (Now those who are living in Oakland? That's a different story. Not sure I agree with it, but that's a different matter.) That does not apply to the Kings. The Kings staying in Sacramento matters a whole hell of a lot.

No, I will not be a fan of the "new" Seattle Sonics if they do indeed move. I'll just flip Puget Sound the bird for taking my team and move on. I'll despise the Maloofs forever (as Sonics fans do with Howard Schultz) regardless of whom they decide to sell to (the Maloofs want the team moved the team to Seattle just to spite Sacramento because they can no longer own the Kings and there is no question in my mind of that).

There is only one question and one question remaining: Is there a bid strong enough to get the NBA to override a very possible move to Seattle? Maybe, maybe not. We'll see. That end of the story has not been written yet.

 

Let me put a few thoughts on the "we got more money than you do" so many Seattleites and poeple around the country are spewing: The greater Puget Sound region and/or Seattle are not the only places with wealth. There are plenty of Bay Area suitors alone that make that argument. And last I checked, even though Sacramento and the Bay Area are distinctly different markets, there is an advantage of buying a NBA team in Sacramento instead of one in Memphis: You don't have to travel 3-4 hours just by plane to see your team play. Let's not pretend, especially if we are taking Northern California as a whole and not just Sacramento as a market, that the greater Northern Californian region does not have anyone with money.

Let's say for a moment that Chris Lehane's comment in this morning's piece by Dale Kasler really includes a whale: If I'm Seattle, I'm really hoping that "whale" is not Larry Ellison. That "we got more money than you" argument goes out in the window. (I don't think it really applies anyway because if you'rea  billionaire, a legitimate billionaire, the NBA will consider you an legitimate owner. Not really sure it matters a whole lot if you have 2 billion or 20 billion to be an NBA owner. (Especially when many of the big market owners are millionaires with billion+ worth markets.) Resources matter, and those who have the appropriate resources, by the NBA's designation, get to be owners. Period.)

Ton Ziller said it best in his Hook piece today:

Regardless, the two criteria for moving a team — corrective action or spur to action — don't apply in Sacramento. Sacramento is a great NBA market. This is the Kings' 28th season in Sacramento. The team sold out every single game in 19 of those seasons. The last six are among those in which games haven't regularly sold out; there was a confluence of factors (heightened ticket prices due to early '00s success, the Great Recession, awful product, constant relocation rumors, bad blood with the owners), but the struggles to put asses in seats doesn't reverse the absolute truth that Sacramento is an NBA city. And spur to action? Yeah, that stick don't stir. Sacramento city officials have been locked in for three years now.

 

If the right ownership is involved, and let's say it's someone OTHER than Larry Ellison or Ron Burkle, what difference does it make? Seattle has committed ownership, and committed enough to build an arena in which the majority of funds for said arena are going to come privately. In otherwords, why can't a 31st NBA team happen? Of course it can. It's just about money. If it makes the owners significant money, they'll of course agree to it. The owners do not care about more teams. They care about the impact that a Seattle market could have on their next national TV contract which, coincidentally, comes up in 2016 by the way.

The owners have to figure out a way to make it profitable for a league to keep an A) public subsidy for buildings that David Stern has repeatedly said as being a prerequisite as being part of the NBA or B) having a major Regional Sports Network to compensate for public dollars like what Hansen/Ballmer/Nordstrom are planning to bring into the fold once they hit Seattle with a NBA team. (It's a matter of when; not if.)

So that leaves me to wonder what will happen next: Will the NBA bother with expansion if it convince the current ownership (the Maloofs not withstanding) that 31 teams can help the league be as profitable as 30 currently are?

I don't know. I'm not sure the NBA knows (although I would be lying if the NBA didn't have a very good idea of what the financial/player impact really will be) how to convince the owners yet, but they are softening them up. The Sacramento market is doing everything it can to convince the NBA it's still a NBA market, and Seattle is doing everything it can to convince the NBA it should return to being a NBA market after 40 years of faithful support.

It does not make sense to take either city out of the loop. (Especially when Stern fought so hard to keep New Orleans in the NBA, and New Orleans has neither the history or show of support that either Sacramento or Seattle has shown to this point.)

So what happens next? I don't know. Neither does anyone else. We know what the real solution should be. Does the NBA? Can they stomach it? Who knows. 

Just don't waste our time with bullshit hyperbole letters designed to make your conscience feel better.  We don't care, and we never will. Simple as that.