I know. Premature, right?
The SuperSonics haven't officially returned to Seattle, though we are $30 million closer as of 12:01 on February 1. Yes. Things could still go wrong. Yes. Defeat could still be snatched from the jaws of victory.
Please allow me, however, to move past this five year battle we've been in just long enough to dream about righting another wrong that you might not be aware of.
Did you know that the State of Washington lost TWO professional basketball teams in 2008?
In addition to the Supes, we lost another team with a winning heritage - the Yakima Sun Kings of the Continental Basketball Association.
From 1990 to 2008, the Sun Kings won five CBA titles.
It was on that team that Raja Bell grew from being a tough and athletic defender who could also drive to the hoop into a complete basketball player with a decent jump shot and a bright NBA future.
It was with the Sun Kings that De Paul's Kevin Holland didn't develop into an NBA player, but DID develop into a community favorite in the Yakima Valley. To the NBA, he was a power forward who wasn't quite good enough. To us, he was Special K.
More recently, it was a stint on the Sun Kings that helped Ronny Turiaf move past his open heart surgery and earn his shot at the NBA.
So what happened? Isaiah Thomas happened. Not our beloved "cold blooded" Isaiah, but the "pig headed" Isaiah who was a superstar on the court, but a nightmare in the front office.
To fully understand what Isaiah did to the CBA, go here. http://www.hoopsvibe.com/features/articles/168248-how-isaiah-thomas-killed-the-cba
For those of you like me who have short attention spans, let me sum it up. Thomas bought the entire league for $10 million in 1999. He then proceeded to lower player salaries, miss payrolls, and run the league into the ground until the NBA offered to buy it from him for $11 million.
The pig headed wonder refused and the end result was bankruptcy for a once proud league, which invented the 3-point line in the 1960's and which was founded two months prior to the NBA.
The league made it out of bankruptcy, but has limped along ever since and didn't even play a championship game in 2012.
This slow spiral of death for the CBA, combined with poor local ownership in Yakima, led to the Sun Kings going defunct in 2008.
A month after its offer to Thomas was rejected, the NBA announced the formation of the NBDL which, while vultures slowly circled the CBA, thrived and was later rebranded the NBA DL.
I said all that to say this. After we get our Sonics back, would it be too much to ask for me to get my Sun Kings back as part of NBA DL? Just think of it. Hansen could start an affiliate in that league and we could watch future SuperSonics develop.
Realistically, I don't see it happening again in Yakima due to concerns with our air terminal and our population base, but why not Tri Cities? Spokane? Vancouver? Wouldn't be called the Sun Kings in those places, but it would be a great asset for basketball fans in our state.
Dare I to dream?