Thanks to SC.com poster Dick Tate for beating me to the punch ... it's been a busy weekend for all of us.
Be sure to check out Scott's Season Preview topic, located helpfully right under this roundup on the main page. The post so nice he wrote it thrice. :D
Frank Hughes follows with his profile of Clay Bennett.
After the Washington Huskies lost to the Oklahoma Sooners on Sept. 9, a group of Seattle SuperSonics upper management and some corporate partners who had trekked here for the football game were treated to a dinner at a local steakhouse by new owner Clay Bennett.
Though Bennett was not attending the dinner, he had called ahead to set up a reservation. Immediately after the group was seated, waiters and waitresses rushed out four plates of appetizers, â€œcompliments of Mr. Bennett.â€
After hungrily digging in to what appeared to be breaded calamari, someone in the group questioned exactly what it was they were consuming.
â€œLamb fries,â€ they were told.
Which, they quickly learned, is an Oklahoman euphemism for lamb testicles.
Now THAT'S a practical joker.
The rest of the article is as in-depth a character portrait of the man as I've read, and is definitely worth your time. Congratulations on a job well done, Frank.
Frank's other piece is also on Bennett and has plenty of arena news.
The team is narrowing its search for a site, Bennett said, though it likely will not be revealed until after the sale of the team is finalized. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that unless the team has some secret location, like a waterfront parcel in downtown Seattle, it is leaning closer and closer to Bellevue, which has the land available, the wealthy fan base in place and the King County Council offering its support.
Bennett said the team is essentially setting up a new business to handle the arena situation.
â€œWe are currently putting together what we hope to be the finest group of professionals we can,â€ Bennett said.
â€œArchitects, engineers, site selection professionals, real estate developers, investment bankers, sports finance specialists, legal team, public affairs consultants, public relations consultants, the works. It is our absolute commitment to do this the best way we can.â€
"We believe Initiative 91 is not in the best interests of Seattle and its reputation as one of the world's leading cities," Bennett's statement reads, in part. "Ultimately it is the voters who must decide how they want their city viewed."
"I-91 will have minimal impact on our site selection process. Every potential arena location will be evaluated based on a number of criteria, and political climate will certainly be one of them. ... Our interest is to be part of a community that recognizes we bring value."
"This team innately has really good chemistry, but I don't think it has real good harmony," Hill said. "That's going to be their challenge from the beginning of camp. They've got to communicate more often off the court and on the court and in the locker room. And it's got to be more than just Ray Allen.
"Last year, every team meeting I asked a question and Ray Allen would answer it. So, finally I said, 'Ray Allen is not allowed to talk.' Then nobody would talk, so I had to make them talk. This was early on, and by the end of the season they were all starting to give their opinions. The bottom line is we need more people being accountable."
I love it! Bob Hill, my favorite Sonic. Best decision Bob Weiss ever made.
The Sonics' harmony will be tested early in camp because of intense competition at two positions, point guard â€” the most notable clash, involving Luke Ridnour and Earl Watson â€” and center. Last season, Hill hinted there might be a change on the horizon, and on Friday he confirmed that the starting position no longer belongs to Ridnour, a two-year starter who enters the final season of a four-year rookie contract.
Perhaps as a way of downplaying the matter, Hill said no one has won a starting job and even went so far as to suggest that reserve Damien Wilkins and rookie Mickael Gelabale will push Rashard Lewis at small forward.
OK, maybe I don't believe that entirely, but I can't say I'm opposed to the concept of rewarding defensive prowess. Especially at certain positions.
Here's a free exhibition schedule:
Oct. 11, at Portland, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 12, at L.A. Lakers (Anaheim), 7 p.m.
Oct. 15, at Chicago (Lawrence, Kan.), 11 a.m.
Oct. 20, Portland, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 21, at L.A. Clippers, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 23, at Phoenix, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25, Sacramento, 7 p.m.
Oct. 26, Golden State (Spokane), 7 p.m.
Paul Silas, former Sonics player and NBA coach, will be the keynote speaker at a team dinner tonight at KeyArena.
"So, thanks for showing up everyone.
So, hey management guys, how come I didn't get an interview last year for the coaching position? I mean, do I smell or something? (Sniffs under arm)
Seriously, is that it, do I smell? (Sniff) You can tell me. I can take it.
Ray, man, c'mon tell me ... do I smell?
Aw, forget about it. Anyone know what that appetizer was? Huh? (Mumble from the back of the room)
Lamb fries? What the heck are lamb fries?"