I owe Ian Furness an apology.
On draft day, now two months in the rear view mirror I made it to the Seattle Center loaded with signs declaring that â€œAt #2 Seattle selects HOPEâ€ and focused on Kevin Durant and Kevin Durant only.
Draft day is, as Iâ€™ve stated in the past my very favorite day of the NBA season and this was my first draft day that I got to really feel like an insider. Not 2 minutes after my arrival a friend at KJR advised about the trade and I did pretty much what any sports fan on the street would do, gave Ray a call to check on things. At the moment my life is weird.
The next hour was a blur. I was committed to letting Ian have his own story and determined only to tell people that I knew about the gossip. Unfortunately I now know everybody in Sonicsland and went running around for an hour blabbering to everybody about the deal that was going to occur. It was a real lack of professionalism and I did not mean, in any way to try to take Ians story and present it as my own. I know they were already talking about it on the radio, but I was a little out of line. Sorry to Ian. It was sheer excitement.
On draft day Sonics fans panicked. The consensus amongst reporters, radio announcers, and fans was that the loss of Ray Allen was a devastating blow to fan interest and the teams long term future here in Seattle.
60 days later I ask: How much are we missing Ray Allen?
At the time of the trade I stated that, while there would be a blow to fan interest it was clear that the tandem of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis had never captured the imagination of this city the way that Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton had. While Allen was respected and generally liked, he was not loved.
Time seems to be bearing out this theory as fans have basically not mentioned Allen in a month. While the reality of his absence will likely sink in as the season approaches it is likely to be all but lost in the frenzy as Kevin Durant prepares to make his Seattle debut. Durant, the 18 year old phenom from Texas will assume the role of star vacated by Allen while the centerpiece of the Allen trade, rookie Jeff Green will quietly be expected to fill some very big shoes.
Make no bones about it, the trade of Ray Allen will eventually be judged on the performance of the young rookie from Georgetown. In normal circumstances a rookie acquired for an established star such as Allen would be the center of glaring attention, almost unattainable expectations however in many ways Green will benefit greatly from both Kevin Durant, and the uncertainty of the Sonics future. Both issues are so large and overwhelming that they should dominate fans attention detract from the monster expectations that come with being traded for Ray Allen.
While fans have not yet decided that they love this team I think it is fair to say that they had made up their mind about Ray. They did not love him enough. Without Ray the record may be less impressive but the overall interest appears to be increased due to the fact that Sam Presti is executing a plan that people can believe in. As far as I can see the trade of Ray Allen, as part of that plan has not hurt fan interest at all.