(For some reason this thread went offline early this morning, and when it did it ended up with a lot of spam links in it so I don't think it was an intentional act)
I know I donâ€™t start a lot of threads here but I felt I needed to today, even if it is a little early.
To start with I want to wish everyone a very happy and safe celebration of the founding of our great nation. As one who greatly appreciates what this country stands for this is a very important day for me. It means that we have the right to have different beliefs and opinions and we need to honor and respect those rights for others.
That said when someone challenges my integrity I am ALWAYS going to take them to task. What is amazing is that someone would think they could make a claim that is completely false and get away with it. If anyone should know anything about me by now is that I donâ€™t go looking for fight but if you bring one to my doorstep you are going to know you had a battle on your hands.
I stand behind my actions, I take responsibility for my words, and I expect no less from those I deal with. To whoever it was that claimed I took payment from Clay to do anything I am calling you out. Have the spine to step up and be accountable for your actions because I am not going to let that load of crap go unchallenged. If you donâ€™t have the integrity to do so then you told us all we need to know about you. Step up or go hide under a rock. Clay has plenty of job openings for that kind of person.
One thing everyone remotely involved with this cause knows is that Brian and I have spent 2 years working on this issue and not only have not made one single dime from it we have more invested in this cause than anyone could ever imagine. We do this, without pay, because it is what has to be done and because we donâ€™t quit without finishing what we start. So enough said on that issue.
For those who may wonder where I have been since yesterday here is your answer. I have done no less than 5 TV interviews, 20 radio interviews, countless conversations with print and internet news sources, meetings at city hall and other places, and fielded nearly non-stop calls from nearly every person that knew my phone number that wanted â€œthe scoopâ€ on what has been going on. All this during a week of â€œvacationâ€ for myself and my bride for our first Independence Day as a married couple. If you can put 2+2 together I think youâ€™ll figure out why I have not been hanging out on the internet. :-)
As to the comments made. I have not seen the news coverage so I donâ€™t know specifically what went out on the air but Iâ€™ll tell you what I said (Obviously not word for word but this is the â€œgistâ€) to the â€œgaggleâ€ of reporters all wanting quotes at the same time: â€œThis could have been much worse for us. The City had a chance to take a cash only deal and just walk away. Had they done that they would have sealed our fate and we may never have the NBA here again. Because of the efforts of our group the climate was such that the city knew they could not do that. We had hoped for a blow out win but instead we got a buzzer beater shot that keeps us alive for a game seven. Because of the failure of the Governor and leadership in Olympia we are at the point where the current group of players is leaving. But we have a chance to keep the Sonics playing here long term. For that to happen we need leadership in Olympia and we need them to get this no brainer deal done come January, no excuses, just action.â€
So whatever was aired piece that into the context above and hopefully it makes sense. I donâ€™t do the Clay Bennett â€œWhat I really meant was thisâ€ crap. I take responsibility for what I said. If it came across otherwise I apologize and remind people that Brian and I are not proâ€™s at this. We donâ€™t regurgitate the same talking point over and over to make sure that no one gets an interesting quote. Right or wrong thatâ€™s the way it is. The media interviews us because we donâ€™t do that. If we did they would pass us by and never give us coverage. But as a leader of this group I work hard to make sure I keep the hope alive. Anyone can go on camera and whine and anyone can quit, but I choose to keep in the game.
Now, where do we stand? Clearly not having Durant and company here this fall is bad news. My wife shares the viewpoint that most have that the Mayor sold us out and that is a position I canâ€™t tell anyone isnâ€™t fair to have. But I have to look at the cards we are dealt and figure out how to win with them. While we were fully prepared to lock the team in for two years and take our chances that we could find a way to force a deal that kept this team here there was a very real chance we could have got to the end of that two years, had the team leave, no arena expansion on the table, and no hope of ever having the NBA return. We would have been very attached to the young players on the team, even though they would never be close to making the playoffs, and then would really hate losing them. We would spend 2 years â€œus vrs themâ€ fighting against the NBA, Clay, everyone. Now instead we have the NBA, Clay, and everyone working to get Seattle a team AS LONG AS Olympia steps up and figures out how to get a â€œno brainerâ€ done. Why? Because Stern and the NBA are greedy, they have a chance to get the arena deal done AND get the richest ownership group in the league on board. Of course the NBA wants him in the league. Clay wants to save $30 million AND find a way to get Shultz off his back. We know that Stern and Ballmer talked and both left the conversation with Stern knowing that Ballmer is not only 100% certain the Key Arena expansion solves the arena issue but is also a non-negotiable. That he will be in this for the long haul if they make this deal and Ballmer left convinced that if he gets into the game he will end up with a team here.
Now the interesting wild card here. Howard Schultz refused to sign off on this deal and there is every indication that he will put full resources into pursuing his case against Clay. Lester Munson said his case had a 55-60% chance of winning, but even if it is only 20% that is a 1 in 5 chance that this Sonics team could be right back here in Seattle as soon as next year. You donâ€™t think Oklahoma, Bennett, Stern, and the rest of the NBA wonâ€™t want to find a way to prevent that from happening? Can you imagine the hell on earth for Clay in OKC if the team were there for one year and then ended up coming back to Seattle? If his case is allowed to move forward in court you can bet they will be right back at the table ready to solve the problem.
So I rambled enough for now but I just wanted everyone to know that I am not quitting and will see this through as long as everyone wants to continue the fight.
Happy Independence day!