We were profoundly moved by the Seattle venting to Bill Simmons. It's a brave move by Simmons, and something he clearly feels very strongly about. And we're against the move to OKC. We think a much better option is to move the Hornets. We don't share some of Seattle's (and most of ESPN, we might add) snottiness towards OKC. They're good people who have shown that they can support a team, and we feel they deserve it. But we hate to see people lose their favorite team. It's terrible, and it's painful, and we feel for Seattle.
There's a big sentiment in Simmons' piece, both by himself and in the reader's emails, that somehow Seattle is better than the other small-market teams. That because they won a championship, this somehow entitles them to more protection.
And that's weak.
"Can someone please tell me how basketball teams in Charlotte and Memphis can underachieve and play like (expletive deleted) for their entire franchise careers and still have teams. Meanwhile, New Orleans can't draw 10,000 fans a game for a team on pace for 55 wins."
Or how about
"David Stern is the Billy King of commissioners. This millennium he moved the Vancouver Grizzlies (2.2 million population metro area) to Memphis (1.3 mil) ... moved the Charlotte Hornets (2.9 mil) to New Orleans (1.3 mil) ... expanded to Charlotte (2.1 mil) instead of San Diego (2.9 mil) ... might allow a move where Seattle (3.2 mil) goes to Oklahoma City (1.2 mil). This amounts to a total population loss for the NBA of 5.3 million people, which is more than the markets of Memphis, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Milwaukee combined. It's like he wiped four NBA teams off the map. I wonder how that plays when negotiating the next TV contract."
What does that have to do with your team getting f*cked, exactly?
Furthermore, and I've said this from the beginning. While I don't consider this to be the end all be all of the discussion, and it's worth mentioning that the Key Arena is one of the smaller arenas in the NBA (though that should go into consideration when arguing that Key Arena is "just fine"), I do think this is interesting.
Seattle Supersonics Attendance:
2002-2003: 15, 541 (2oth in the league)
Notable teams with better attendance: New Orleans, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Indiana
2003-2004: 15, 255 (23rd in the league)
Notable teams with better attendance: Minnesota, Milwaukee, Indiana,
2004-2005: 16,475 (21st in the league)
Notable teams with better attendance: Memphis, Indiana, Sacramento
2005-2006: 16,198 (23rd in the league)
Notable teams with better attendance: Charlotte, Milwaukee, Sacramento, New Orleans (yeah, guess where they were that season?)
2006-2007: 16, 955 (25th in the league)
Notable teams with better attendance: Minnesota, Milwaukee, Sacramento, New Orleans (again, say hi to the new hosts)
2007-2008: 13,457 (26th in the league)
Notable teams with better attendance: Sacramento, Minnesota, Charlotte
So, according to the gentleman above, the Sonics should stay in Seattle because there are more people there.
Even...though... they're not...coming?
And don't give me the "put a winning team on the floor" crap. Sacramento has been wretched in the last few years and they're still killing them. What, has Milwaukee been lighting up year in and year out? You're supposed to go to the games, whether they're winning or not. If you only care when they're winning, you might as well be Laker fans.
Again, I'm not saying this is a reason to move the team. There's no reason to move the team. It's a market that could be better, but it's still a good basketball town and deserves to keep it's team. Breaking a fanbase's heart like that is terrible. Kansas City didn't give a rat's ass about the Kings. So it was no big deal. But this isn't like that.
However, dogging other cities that aren't on the West Coast and have actually beaten the Sonics in terms of attendance is not the way to go. That's all I'm saying.
Seattle can rest on it's history as a franchise all it wants. But lately other fanbases have stepped up and actually bought tickets. And that mean something.
But yeah, Clay Bennett is a douchebag.