I read Bill Simmons religiously. I have been a fan of his dating back before his ESPN days and have seen him develop into one of the most knowledgeable and connected NBA guys we have the pleasure of reading. I also enjoy listening to his podcast and watching him on television on a regular basis.
This past Friday he busted out one of his vintage mailbags, the first one of the summer. Tom, a reader from Seattle brought up the incident involving Chris Hansen and basically stated that Hansen would call off the dogs if Stern put in writing that Seattle would get an expansion team. Long story short and we get this:
NBA Seattle = NFL Los Angeles
I do not like this comparison on a few fronts.
- To my knowledge there has never been an ownership group like Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer in Los Angeles threatening to steal an NFL team away. It's usually local ownership using Los Angeles as leverage to get a new stadium built.
- Seattle is a few months away from having a fully functional, ready to go arena plan. The land is bought, the design is almost done. All that is left at this point is to have the EIS completely vetted out. Los Angeles can't even get people together or a final site agreed upon for a stadium.
- People in Seattle love the Supersonics brand. We still yearn for it, we want it back. Is there a vocal group in LA calling for the return of the Rams or the Raiders? I lived there, never heard an outcry for it. People in LA love the Lakers, that's sports priority number one. Probably followed by the Dodgers, USC football, UCLA basketball and then a mixture of Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers followers.
They don't care if Seattle has a basketball team. I can't see Hansen getting an expansion team for less than $1.05 billion ($35 million per franchise), and at that point, why even do it?
So if you can't get an expansion team, and you can't get the Bucks, who's left? The answer: nobody. Hence the turd-in-the-punch-bowl strategy with the Sacramento vote. Maybe it's a legal Hail Mary, but it's the only move Hansen has left. And it's not going to work. The NBA seems determined to screw over Sonics fans for as long as humanly possible.