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New Years Joy

Good Morning. Too long since I blogged.

Glad to see the change in the lineup yesterday. I wholeheartedly agree with the move and was glad to see we got a win. I hope that we don't get hit with that many more injuries this season. Wilcox' fall looked like the kind of one that can be bad. Lots of sideways movement to the Kneecap and lets face it, the knee is not really meant to move that way.

If Chris happens to be out I probably favor inserting Delonte West at the SG, moving Durant to the SF and Green at PF. We wind up giving up some size but having a team that can really push it up the floor. I don't think that would be the way it would go however. More likely Nick steps into the PF and Johan or a returning Robert Swift take the backup minutes.

Robert is basically healthy and planning on returning. He had expected to return after the last road trip but got some conflicting instructions from his doctor. I am not sure whether it came from him, his agent, the team, or maybe a combination of all of them but somehow it became said that nobody can afford for him to come back anything less than 100%. While he felt good they decided to phase him in, giving him 1 week of running, 1 week of drills, 1 week of contact scrimmage, and 1 week of full contact practice before he considered retuning to a game. That is where the month came up. Maybe they'll decide to move his schedule ahead a bit if Wilcox is out.

Watching this team has made me realize a couple of things. First of all we are a crappy team today and we are SO MUCH BETTER ON DEFENSE IT IS BARELY COMPARABLE. Knowing that makes me realize just how far behind we were defensively in recent years. I have that same feeling about our bigs. Now I love Nick Collison and Robert is my boy but lets be honest. Kurt Thomas is a scrap. He's an aging veteran who was tossed aside by Phoenix. They gave us two first round draft picks to avoid paying his contract and it is not like they are noticeably worse without him. So if he is this much better than our other bigs what does it say about them? Perhaps we need to re-evaluate how good all of our other bids are in comparison.

No disrespect to Kurt in that last paragraph. He has been a great addition to the team this year. A really, really solid player.

On the arena front I have to continue the frustrating process of asking people to be patient and advising that there is action behind the scenes. They mayors office promised a completed proposal a couple of weeks ago and they have one. Unfortunately Clay Bennett continues to re-iterate that he will not consider a Key Arena option or even have the discussion and that is the only plan that is being worked on. There is corporate sponsorship available and viable local ownership groups. The big question is whether the league will let a guy move a team simply because he doesn't want to negotiate. I have been told very clearly and specifically that there will be no rubber stamp process in moving a team from this established market if there is ANY viable arena plan on the table that has revenue streams which are equal or greater than those available in OKC. If that is true, then the city basically has the ability to block a move by putting a competitive package together.

There are major forces that acknowledge that the full enforcement of the lease make it really difficult for Clay. 3 years of lame duck status is a tremendous loss of revenue and also a huge black eye to the league. They have to constantly explain it to their corporate partners, broadcast partners, and everyone else with an interest. We have been really supportive of the team, and continue to call for people to participate, but at some point if there is a viable local arena and a viable local owners and the league just pretends they don't exist we will have to consider whether next season the fans should boycott. It would be a huge move to call for and not make me any friends but little by little it gets harder to give the team money. Could we actually get people to picket in front of the arena on opening night next year? Could we convince longterm season ticket holders to trade their 2 $100 seats for a single $10.00 seat, keep their priority number, but pass on the next year or 2?

I'm not there yet. I'm not even burning bridges with Clay if he'd come back to the table. I don't think he will but the situation changes dramatically once Seattle steps up with an offer. Cross fingers and work hard to ensure that it gets completely wrapped up in the coming weeks.

Look at Portland and their 12 game run. I ask myself "If that happened in Seattle today would it save the team?" I think the answer is probably yes. It is as simple as that, a stroke of luck/success/karma and suddenly the building rocks for fan support and a community outcry are there. It's frustrating.

We're getting much closer to the trade deadline and I can't get any sense of whether the team is working on a deal or not. We played .500 this month and looked pretty competitive. Will they try to make a trade simply to cut salary and prepare for the 2 year battle? Will they try to consolidate players to get a more streamlined rotation? What kind of direction are they looking to move? I have no idea.

I want to again thank Chris Meirose for his maintenance of this site. They guy is just consistent and awesome. He is the Jeff Green of this forum always bringing it in ways that don't show up on the highlight real.