A couple of things going on in the Great Northwest regarding the Sonics. First, Clay Bennett toured Emerald Downs racetrack in see if it would serve as a suitable arena location. Doesn’t sound like anything will come of that, although he said he came away “impressed.” Then Bennett said he would not apply for relocation on Nov. 1 if an arena deal was not reached. Apparently he doesn’t want to overshadow the team’s home opener. Sounds considerate. But he did say it would only be a matter of time.
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire has also brought together three Seattle business leaders to discuss arena options. They include Dave Sabey, the millionare (maybe billionaire) land developer. Microsoft Senior V.P. and General counsel Brad Smith and Boeing exec Bob Wyatt. The Times touches on that near the bottom of the second link above.
This week, an ordinance was passed Monday by the Seattle City Council that basically prevents the city from letting the Sonics out of their KeyArena contract early. Sounded like big news initially, but some of the folks I spoke with thought it was a joke.
The Seattle Times also reported Thursday that a former Washington Senator who helped bring the Mariners to town and later forced them to stay is being called on to help keep the Sonics in Seattle. The guy looks a lot like ESPN’s John Clayton if you ask me.
But on a serious note, it certainly appears as though the city of Seattle is gaining momentum with regards to keeping its teams. The past few months I’ve been sure that the Sonics and Storm would move to OKC next year. Near the end of the summer I lowered my percentage of the teams coming to say a 65 pecent chance. Now, I think it’s about a 90 percent chance they stay in Seattle. As the guy who has to follow every bit of news and development, I just can’t wait until it’s all over — one way or another.
In other news, if you were fired up to see Greg Oden this season you’ll have to wait until 2008. He’s likely out for the season after undergoing knee surgey. Good thing for Seattle that Portland didn’t pick Durant. I feel bad for Blazers fans. They’ve suffered through a lot in recent years and don’t deserve a bad break like this.
I remember covering a Hornets game early last season against the Blazers at the Rose Garden. You remember, the one in which the Hornets were up by a million points in the first half and ended up losing the game. Well that was probably the loudest crowd I heard in my two years covering the Hornets. And the place was only about 60 percent full.
One last thing. For those of you who are still Hornets fans. They signed veteran Melvin Ely. It’s a small addition, but one that will add depth to their team and should help them nab one of the final two playoff spots.
- Darnell Mayberry