5 February 2007
The really long goodbye
Sam Smith of the Chicago Tribune analyzes the Oklahoma City NBA situation:
The problem for the Sonics, now with new owners from Oklahoma City, is trying to keep a low profile while lobbying for public money for a new arena (fat chance). If that were somehow approved, they'd keep the franchise in Seattle because it would be a guaranteed financial winner. But if not, the way would be open for the franchise to relocate to Oklahoma City because the Hornets have announced an NBA-pushed return to New Orleans.
This will bring back memories of the attendance figures for the Rochester Royals. The rumor is the league wants to keep Oklahoma City open for the new Sonics owners. That would give the Hornets no place to return if New Orleans cannot support a team (they were last in attendance before the hurricane). That would then put the pressure to sell on maverick Hornets owner George Shinn, not an NBA favorite, thus giving new Hornets owners a chance to go to Seattle if the Sonics leave, or swap with the Seattle owners so they could relocate a franchise to their home in Oklahoma City.
The theory is the league doesn't want Shinn continuing to profit from mismanagement and then moving and would make it hard for him to return to Oklahoma City. And you thought those Raymond Chandler novels were hard to follow.
The Rochester Royals, you may remember (I didn't), drifted to Cincinnati, then to Kansas City (as the Kings), and ended up in Sacramento.