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Interpreting Slade

So I expect a lot of traffic over Greg Johns article today.

Personally I'm happy that Slade came out and said "We want to talk."

I think some people will jump off a cliff and hear the "He acknowledges this team is gone." portion of the interview. Others will be happy to hear that he and the mayor are sticking to their guns regarding a financial settlement.

I know we all prefer this team. That said from my perspective this particular organization is really soiled at the moment. I'm not sure how attached I am to this particular group.

If you are in the camp that says "This group or nobody!" then just make sure you understand the odds. We are stacked up against Billionaires and the league as a whole. We have a multi-front battle against our own politicians as well as the owners. Think about how attached you are to these particular guys and ask yourself what difference it would make if there were 5 guys in Sonics jerseys next year playing ball. Would you sacrifice that for the chance to keep this group?

We talk about optimism and keeping hope alive. I think you all need to understand that we are continually optimistic that we have a fighting chance. This is not the same as a slam dunk or saying that we are optimistic this is a done deal. We face a lot of adversity here and nothing is guaranteed. When you say "I'm willing to fight the fight for these guys." you really are going in double or nothing, with a shot at winding up with nothing.

I am personally in the camp that we need to set our goal for the more achievable "we want basketball and we'll settle out how as those options materialize" approach. I have a fairly strong personal feeling that, if we can begin down that road, there will simply be a lot of logistical forces encouraging a logical step in which we keep this team. The fact is that Seattle values this squad more than Oklahoma and it is somewhat of a face saver for the league to retain the tradition, not have to realign divisions, not have to ask two groups of players to move, etc. If we get control of another franchise or a promise of expansion then that leverage to see what happens.

I read one comment that implies Slades desire to settle before court is a sign that he lacks confidence in a win. That is not the case. The simple fact is that going to court is a huge deterrant for the NBA. They don't want to do it and we have some leverage prior to making them. After they have already endured the hardship of the trial that leverage goes away. That is why these next several weeks are simply a crucial time for trying to make some deal. There are a ton of floating deadlines. The first is between now and the depositions, then now and the trial, then the start of next season, etc. Each deadline provides an opportunity to get something done and each one which passes represents a missed opportunity.

It is time for both the city and the league to start talking reasonably about options that settle this matter before it gets uglier. We've done a good job at creating the intolerable mess for everybody. Now the question is whether they simply choose to endure that mess out of stubborness or if they start to look for solutions. I hope they look for solutions.