DALLAS — So I made the short trip to Dallas to catch the Sonics-Mavs game Tuesday night and there just happened to be a lot of news. The biggest bit is that the Seattle-based investor group pulled the plug on their bid to buy the Sonics and help the city renovate KeyArena.
I guess this news comes as no surprise, since the Gov. Chris Gregoire and House Speaker Frank Chopp have never shown any interest in the proposal. At least not publicly. Who knows where Seattle goes from here. Maybe the Fred Brown-led proposal for that $1 billion Emerald City Center will gain some steam. I doubt it. It looks like more than ever it’s a done deal that the NBA owners will approve the Sonics relocation to Oklahoma City with no arena plan out in Seattle. We’ll see in a few more weeks.
Speaking of, Mark Cuban had a lot to say about his opposition for the Sonics moving to OKC.
I also spoke with several Sonics players to get their take on the potential move now that it’s looking closer to happening. A lot of them didn’t know squat about OKC and reduced themselves to “just players.” Here’s a quote from forward Nick Collison about the potential move…..
“I like where I live. I have a lot of friends (in Seattle). I have a house there. I love the city, so yeah, I don’t want to move. But like I said, it’s part of the job. If we have to, I don’t know much about Oklahoma City but I’m sure there’s nice people there. I’m sure I’ll find a way to fit in. But for now, I like being in Seattle. That’s my home.”
After leaving the Sonics’ locker room following the game I walked away thinking, ”Boy that is a depressing place these days.” I remember covering the home opener, the second game of the season, back when they fell to 0-2. What a big difference between now and then. It was quiet. Almost silent. Players appear to have reached the point of frustration months ago. Answers to media questions are short and trite. I know a lot of people don’t like to feel bad for millionaires, but I honestly feel bad for these guys. And the reporters who have to cover them during a season like this. This can’t be fun for anyone involved.
On a personal note, if the Sonics relocate to OKC next year I’m going on record of saying we’ll get some great sound bites out of P.J. Carlesimo. Dude took 2 minutes, 40 seconds to answer the first question of the post-game press conference. A generic question at that. I love it. But then a few moments later and he answered two questions with about 13 words. So we’ll see how that goes.
I didn’t see GM Sam Presti or owner Clay Bennett at the game. Sonics officials said neither was in attendance.
Also of note, I met the team’s play-by-play announcer, Kevin Calabro. What a nice guy he is. Before the game he told me that he will remain in Seattle if the team relocates. He’s been on the team’s broadcasting team for 21 years and has four children under the age of 24, including, if I remember correctly, a 12-year-old daughter that would make it tough on him and his family to uproot. So whenever the team comes to OKC, if it comes, it’ll have a new television guy.
Not that anyone in OKC knows the current cast. Although former player Steve “Snapper” Jones, is one of the analysts, and NBA fans might know him from his 13 years as an analyst for NBC. But by the sound of it, Oklahoma City could use a guy like Calabro for its prospective NBA team. The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association named him Sportscaster of the Year for the state of Washington in 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2006. Pretty impressive.
Oh yeah, the Sonics loss, 99-83, outshot by the Mavs 50.6 percent to 38.1 percent. They’re now 18-60.