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Mark Cuban on the Sonics

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: April 12, 2013 at 5:51 pm •  Published: January 22, 2008

In case you missed it, Mavs owner Mark Cuban weighed in on the state of the Sonics last Saturday night when the Sonics were in Dallas to play the Mavs. While not exactly endorsing Seattle fans’ support of the Sonics, the always outspoken Cuban explained that he might not vote in favor of the Sonics relocating to OKC.

Although Cuban didn’t mention it, one thing worth noting is that a team in OKC likely cuts into his ability to draw from the OKC market. The Mavs are televised in OKC on FSN Southwest, and many OKC fans travel to Dallas to see Mavs games. At any rate, here’s what Cuban had to say…..

“The question is whether Seattle even wants the team. If they want them, they have to figure out a way for them to stay. And if they don’t it’s just a question of where. I’d love to see them stay in Seattle. It’s a great city, great fans, just a shame, you know? But I guess sometimes the rain gets to people.”

“It’s not one of those things where you can force people to want them to stay. If they want them to stay, they want them to stay. And if they don’t, they don’t. It wasn’t like it was a big uproar and that’s the thing. You can play politics all you want but it wasn’t like people we’re screaming and that’s a shame because it’s a great basketball city.”

“I don’t know that they’re going to Oklahoma City, we have to see. At least as far as my personal vote, I am going to keep all options open. It’s a question of what’s the biggest available market and what’s going to help the NBA the most. So we’ll see. And if it’s not better than Seattle, I’ll vote against it. It’s all right but they have a (expletive) lease. That’s what it is. People can make the argument that’s the lease you sign but business changes and that’s what’s happened.”

“The reality of the NBA has changed. There was a day where you can always depend on the TV contract going way up and that meant all teams got the same boost in revenue. If the TV revenue went up, Seattle got the same as Dallas as New York. But now, national revenue is a declining percentage of team revenues, which means you are more dependent on local revenues.

“And the more dependent you are on local revenue, the more important your lease and arena deal is. And the more important you’re lease and arena deal is, the worst position that Seattle’s in competitively. So I think that’s the piece that people don’t quite understand in Seattle. I think they think it’s 1996 and if they could do it then they think they can do it now.

“But the difference between 10 years ago and today, with the economics of the NBA and the way the collective bargaining agreement is structured is night and day. Night and day. That just puts Seattle is a significant competitive disadvantage.

Cuban isn’t sold on Oklahoma City and said he will not vote along with other owners just for the sake of agreement.

Cuban went on to say he doesn’t think the OKC market is strong enough to support the NBA.

“If it isn’t I’ll vote against it. I am not going in with any preset notions, so we’ll see what happens, I am open minded like that.”


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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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