Before I say anything else, let me offer major congratulations to Sacramento fans, especially to our friends at SacTown Royalty. I really mean that. I am very impressed by your refusal to give in to a seemingly hopeless situation and am very happy for your success as a city.
We have had our share of regrettable and mutual anger over the last few months, but who can honestly begrudge a fan base for doing what it takes to keep possession of that for which they are fanatical?
Having said that, I'm really not sure how to feel about our situation in Seattle. Bummed? Angry? Hopeful? Wanting to fight? Wanting to move on?
All of the above, I suppose.
IT COULD'VE BEEN SO SATISFYING
To be honest, there were three potential outcomes to this saga that would have fully satisfied me and none of them happened.
The Two Obvious Ones
Option A: Seattle gets the Kings.
Option B: Seattle gets a guarantee of expansion.
Do I even need to explain those two? We would have gotten our Sonics back either this season or in a year or two. We would have finally had our first true moment of jubilation since Bennett bought the Sonics. We would've been able to put a shovel in the ground for our new arena later this year. We would've had closure.
That Deep Dark One
I'm not proud of the third one because I really don't like what it says about me, but I do have to admit it would have been very satisfying.
Option C: Burn it down.
In the weeks leading up to the fateful vote, rumors were swirling that Hansen and company were preparing to fight. Anti-trust suits were being prepared, in the event of things going against us. Our guys were angry enough to team up with the Maloofs to file a landmark anti-trust suit. If the NBA were to reject us a second time, we would sue our way in.
Then came the 20% backup plan. Really want to get rid of the Maloofs, NBA? Your only choice is to approve our sale and relocation.
I loved every part of both of these scenarios. If the NBA was going to reject us any way, we might as well go down swinging. Scorched earth. Burned bridges because the NBA lit the first match. Because David Stern hates us and we hate him. Because we don't think Adam Silver will be any different.
Also because it might be the only way to get a team.
I hate to admit this, but this would also have been strangely satisfying. There would've been an element of revenge to it and nothing gets the blood flowing better than revenge.
Well scorched earth didn't happen either. No lawsuits (so far). No working with the Maloofs just to tick the NBA off. No nothing.
Sitting here writing this, I'm very glad. My life is not about hatred. My life is not about revenge. My life is not about bitterness.
WHERE ARE WE NOW?
As the Kings roller coaster took its many twists and turns, I told myself that I couldn't bare another NBA rejection. I told myself I would have to boycott the NBA again. I told myself that things would be even worse this time around, because Seattle would have done everything it was asked to do and gotten rejected any way. I braced myself for rage, for boycotts, and for another big dose of dispair.
This is NOT 2008
We have an approved arena plan with just a couple of fairly easy hoops to jump through. We have assembled what could be the best ownership group in the history of the NBA. We have political leadership in place that put skin in the game to get the arena deal done. Those guys aren't going to reverse their decision. The only real risks are not getting a team secured within the five year window of the MOU and another really important one. Don't let anti-arena schmucks get even a whiff of winning city or county office.
We as a community have all of the pieces in place. We weren't even close in 2008. Take heart in that.
They have already started to swirl. They will likely heat up and cool down quite often over the next couple of years. Adam Silver and David Stern both made statements after the vote that would seem to indicate the League is more open to it, depending on the negotiation for the new TV contract in 2015. Will it happen? I don't know and neither does anyone else.
Frankly, I think expansion is now the only option. Something could change that and surprise me, but that's how I currently feel. For one thing, there is a shortage of NBA teams with little or no lease remaining. There are no teams for sale that we know of. We now know what the NBA will do in the event of an attempted purchase and relocation - give the incumbent city every chance to put ownership and an arena together. Also, do we really want to go to war with another city?
If a relocation opportunity arises and HBNW jumps on it, I will support it, but I'm rooting hard for expansion. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees for us.
As For Me and My House
We all have to go through this in our own way and I'm not going to tell you the right way to feel at this point. There is NO right way to feel in this situation. But here is what I'm feeling.
I'm not as angry as I thought I'd be. At this moment, I'm not angry at all. I'm sure there will still be moments of that. I'm not mad at Kevin Johnson or anyone in Sacramento, including Carmichael Dave. In fact, I'm truly happy for them.
I'm not even mad at people in Oklahoma City any more. I was glad they were eliminated the other night and I will always root against the Thunder, but I wasn't nearly as glad as I was in previous years. Time heals if you let it.
I thought I would resume my boycott of the NBA in the event of its rejection of us, but I have the Spurs-Grizzlies game on in the background as I write this and I find myself still wanting to watch NBA basketball, whether the Sonics come home or not. I even asked my buddy yesterday if he might want to go to a Blazers game next year.
Why should I allow David Stern to deprive me of watching basketball? I never rooted for the administrative process of the league. I rooted for the players.
We got rejected, but I refuse to give up. We have no guarantee, but I refuse to lose hope. We have no team, but I refuse to deprive myself of the NBA.
Oh yeah and one more thing. I STILL trust Chris Hansen and will follow his lead.