In light of these recent comments I have to say that my own personal frustration is begining to mount.
Over the last several months we at SOS have adopted a strategy of patience. There is a simple premise involved in this. Each and every person we talk to, from the league office, to city staff, to prospective new owners all advise that there are two defining issues that will dramatically change the negotiating positions and leverage of all involved.
First off is the court date. In our communication with the league and union we have determined that a large amount of the information they are getting comes from the Bennet camp. Most do not have a sense of real "consequence" because they have been assured that this will be resolved before it gets too messy. Bennett tells them that the city will settle or that he will prevail in court, avoiding a prolonged and ugly situation. It is the reality of this situation, having the court hearings played out in front of a national audience during the NBA finals that will add significant presure to all parties to find a solution. As one person close to the situation told me "This is the NBA. They don't like to lose. They don't want the egg on their face and if they realize they are likely to lose they are masters at avoiding the conflict."
Secondly is the arena situation. We have been promised for months that the arena solution was "just around the corner". We've attempted to be silent and cooperate with the process because right now the eggs are all in one basket. That basket is orchestrated by the city, the business leaders they've brought into the process, and their legal team.
There are a lot of moving parts and a lot of people sitting on the fence. The city has identified that they need a naming rights sponsor, a local buyer willing to pay market value(set ridiculously high) and contribute to the arena, and some public funding mechanism. They know that it is tough to get the buyer without the funding mechanism, tough to get the funding mechanism without a naming sponsor, and all three are contingent upon winning the legal case, etc. Lining them all up is REALLY tricky.
I've been pretty thouroughly informed of the strategy and can only tell you I think it is as good as we can hope for. They have identified several of the key componenents and are very close to the whole package. The problem is that they have been sitting there for a long time trying to get all the parts to line up at one time.
I don't personally want to be the "wildcard" whose actions disrupt this really delicate balance. There are many actions that, while seeming great from a fan perspective, have been explained to me as "scary" for anyone getting ready to contribute $400-500 million dollars to this mess. If you were on the fence about contributing that much money how would you feel knowing that the fans had such great power to do your reputation harm, sue you needlessly, etc? It is a tough balance.
So each week we sit here, biding time and waiting. Holding back our actions because frankly I know that without a building they are pointless and that with a builing their impact is doubled if not more. I read the board and know how frustrated you are, being doubly frustrated myself but I can't really justify the effort until this damn building plan is released.
I can't take credit or blame when something I've been told comes true or proves false. Right now I think the arena talk is like trade speculation. Just because something doesn't happen does not make it a lie. There are simply a lot of moving parts and different angles. I do know that the city is getting anxious to do something. They don't like this either.
There is speculation by a local paper that the review of this offer is "the begining of settlement talks". I have been told by a credible source that this is not true and "I would not read too much into it." It, like every other maddening part of this ordeal it is simply part of the process. Nothing in the cities strategy has changed or will change until either the court case is settled or a building solution goes public. If anything leaking the actual number is a semi-desperate attempt by Stern to put pressure on the city to settle so that he can avoid the trial.
I'm going to give credit to the city for sticking to their guns. I may not like the confrontational nature of Tim Ciess but given where we are and what is going on he is being a badass negotiator. They turned down the offer because they want to keep the team here.
So I can tell you, I know the names of the prospective team buyers. I know the names of the prospective arena naming sponsors, and I know the outline of the financial proposal. I can't/won't share any of it but can tell you that IF it all comes together we retain a shot to save this team. I won't believe they're gone until they play their first game in OKC.
At some point the fans here, may have to take charge of making things uglier. There are actions that the people can take that the bigwigs can't. I am however scared of the potential consequences of those actions and would only take them with a lot of consultation and advise.
If the city wins its case then the word "Boycott" for 2 years has to become a serious option. I will hate it, and am willing to go a long way to avoid it, but in the end the best place to fly a banner may be above our own home court claiming "Fans on Strike"
We'll see how things shake down.