Bad news today for Sonicscentral.com.
Apperently as the trade deadline passed this year the league grew a bit frustrated with internet speculation that the entire league was being traded to New York. I was informed today by the Sonics PR department that the league sent out a memo reminding individual PR staff members that only accredited media are to be given media passes. This league mandate specifically called out unaccredited internet fan sites as not allowed at team practices. As a result the team has revoked my priveledges to attend team practice and shootaround.
Let me say for the record that every member of the Sonics has been extremely gracious and they did promise to work with me to preserve some type of access. I would expect that I will get to have team interviews every couple of weeks until I can work something else out. I believe them 100% when they told me point blank that this was a league mandate. They have no incentive to lie or to work with me on this matter.
We are looking at options including venturing into print media to continue the dramatic growth of the site. If you have any ideas please don't hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.
Anyway here are today's practice notes:
Notes today don't include quotes or any particular order. I am at home alone with the kids tonight and don't have much time. Sorry.
Practice today was dominated by the television crews which left hardly any space for the regular media to ask questions. The house was packed with people watching team members perform drills with their new core. Mike Wilks provided the highlight by displaying a jumper that just wouldn't quit. I believe he hit every shot he took.
While most of the team participated in drills Head Coach Bob Hill took new PF Chris Wilcox aside to work on post sets in the offense. He advised the media that the team would be looking to utilize the post game much more with their new personel and that Wilcox in particular had a lot of potential in that area. The one on one session he described as just the start of the process in teaching Wilcox a back to the basket post game.
I was unable to spot any significant height different between Wilks and Watson. Both are awfully small for NBA players but received high praise from the coach. He was thrilled with Watson's performance in the first practice and has gotten reviews of Wilks as an extremely tenacious player. Coach Hill called up a familiar conversation in which we had discussed whether a defensive team could be built around offensive players. With the change of personel he went on the record unequivically by saying that you need defensive players. He described Watson, Wilks, and Wilcox all as players who are more committed to defense than the players they replaced. In addition the departures of Radmanovic and Murray bump Damien Wilkens up in the rotation and definately increase the defensive makeup of the squad.
Hill will look to play a 4 guard rotation featuring Ridnour, Allen, Watson, and Wilkens. When asked about Rick Brunson he hedged by replying "Rick's had a tough season.".
Rick Sund responded to recent comments by Rashard Lewis by saying that he is thrilled when players say they don't like to lose. It was somewhat of a canned answer but he backed it up with a pretty long supporting monologue that made some sense.
Sund beamed when talking about Wilcox and advised "Chris is absolutely thrilled to be here." Reports about Wilcox are that he just wants to play and is very excited.
Sund also lived up to his reputation as a great interview by talking candidly about about the contract negotiations with Earl Watson this summer. "(The Seattle-PI) inaccurately reported that Watson was not within our budget. That was totally inaccurate." He went on to describe the situation the team faced with Damien Wilkens and his contract. While the team was very interested in Watson they could not offer him a contract until resolving the Wilkens issue without risking losing him. Sund continued, "It wasnâ€™t like a budget. Weâ€™re fine with (Earlâ€™s contract)."
Regarding Vitaly Potapenko and his resigning this summer Sund reminded me that the team believed it was working to defend its Northwest division title. A veteran of some kind was needed and offering Vitaly 1/2 of his prior salary seemed like a reasonable gamble. When asked whether it was a coincidence that this contract combined nicely with either Murray or Evans to a match a mid-level contract he smiled and basically said that it sure was nice how everything worked out.
I'm sulking a bit over the practice thing. I've spent a lot of time working on this site and feel like the carpet got yanked out from under my feet a bit. Thanks to all for the support.