Man I hate to post-over Big Chris' Wilcox thread. Hopefully there is still room for basketball talk below while we continue to rant about the arena here:
So yesterday Slade Gorton went on the radio and he said a number of things that I want to talk about while they are fresh in the mind.
For starters he talks about how right now Seattle has a problem, lack of an arena. If we get an arena then David Stern has a problem, 2 cities 1 team. This is a familiar line from those involved in the fight. The feeling is that right now Stern has no incentive to work towards resolution. He's out of ideas and just doesn't get the politics here. If we get an arena proposed, then the problem becomes his and he becomes active as a solution provider. Expansion, relocation, etc. it all becomes an option because he doesn't want to be the guy who failed an existing market.
The second point is the one I really think is important to make here. Sen. Gorton was asked by Mitch about the expectation that, we get an arena deal done, go to the owners meeting, and faced with an option in Seattle the owners vote down relocation. His answer was something along the lines of "Thats not exactly the scenario we see."
I need to brace you all for the fact that nobody really expects the owners to vote down relocation. It is just not likely in the cards. They ALWAYS vote with their own. The ABSOLUTE best case is that they defer the vote. I don't see any scenario where they vote it down. Don't get all panicky or be suprised on that date.
The hope is that they vote for relocation in the primary vote, but either in the fine print of that approval, or more likely just behind closed doors we want the assembled owners to say "Jesus David. Now look what we've done. We'll go along with your game but you have to take some actions to ensure that we don't get creamed publicly for the next 2 years. Figure out a way, solve this problem!"
Like almost every aspect of this issue it is likely to be resolved behind closed doors.
Lastly he talks about the lawsuit and I will say that there is some real feeling that having a funded arena is the final nail in the litigation coffin. The city attorney grows more confident by the day that they'll get a win on this trial. They do however understand that in a courtroom, with a judge, anything can happen. There is a strong feeling however that they undermine Clays case by having an option here. He is saying two things, that he will lose so much money that his losses become "unecessarily punative" by staying in Seattle and that he "has no reasonable options other than departure." The city is going to try to demonstrate that losses are his issue, his creation based on his decisions. They believe that they completely undermine the case by saying "You do have a reasonable option. If you don't want to stay, if you don't want the losses, then you have an option to sell the team and be made completely and totally whole financially to a party who is willing to stay through the term of the lease. It is a reasonable option. If you choose not to accept that you should be accountable for the decision."
The feeling is that this argument gives them the ability to tell NBA owners that a win in court is not just "very likely" but "all but certain." and that this will change the tone of conversations.
Senator Gorton would deny this but I believe that any public servant or attorney is concerned about the perception of failure. They don't even want to talk about things that are likely to fail. Therefore I think he still has some real confidence that this will get done or he would not have gone on the air.
The mayors willingness to stare down the league on this one is impressive.