When an NBA franchise wins 20 games in an 82-game season, something has to change. The Seattle SuperSonics were so interested in change, they changed towns. Now located in Oklahoma City, the No Longer Sonics have done much more than get a new address.
Eight players who played at least one game for the Sonics last season no longer are on the roster. Hit the snooze button and you might miss the latest deal orchestrated by NLS general manager Sam Presti. Presti and everyone else in the NLS front office are doing much more than building a team. They're building an entire franchise. The Seattle SuperSonics are dead. They're as dead as 600 Starbucks. Like a phoenix (no, not the Suns), the OKC NLS are trying to rise from their ashes. The process continued Wednesday with the acquisitions of former No. 1 draft pick Joe Smith and former Oklahoma State standout Desmond Mason. Gone are Luke Ridnour and Adrian Griffin. Smith and Mason are quite familiar with the relocation process. Smith is joining his ninth different NBA franchise in his 14th year and his sixth team in the last four seasons. Mason has been with the New Orleans once, Milwaukee twice and now Seattle twice (sort of). This deal was not a public relations move by Presti. Acquiring Mason wasn't necessary from the standpoint of selling tickets because more than 16,000 season-ticket requests already have been received. Getting Mason does give the locals someone to wrap their arms around other than a lovable, 19-year-old phenom who went to the University of Texas for about an hour and a half. Actually, this partly was a PR move by Presti, who speaks glowingly about Smith and Mason for what they can offer on and off the court. "We got a couple of guys we really like,” Presti said.
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Joe Smith, the No. 1 overall pick in 1995, is a big part of Presti's rebuilding process. ASSOCIATED PRESS