As of this writing, the improbable Oklahoma City NBA franchise is still unnamed. I frankly don't much care for most of the names that are being bandied about. "Barons" is okay, but will invite catcalls from the sort of characters who think we live in a Baron wasteland; I've gone on record as favoring "Scissortails," a nod to the state bird that conjures up all kinds of strange possibilities for the Official Mascot. Not that I expect the ownership to listen to me.
I don't think they'll listen to me on these points, either, but I'm giving them an airing anyway.
- Do not even think about hanging the Sonics' 1979 championship banner in the Ford Center.
These aren't the Sonics anymore, even if most of them wore the green and gold last year. As John McGrath writes in the Tacoma News-Tribune: "I was in Oklahoma City when the Sonics began their '79 championship run against the Bullets, and Oklahoma's emotional participation in the series on a 1 to 10 scale was zero." It's something to which we have no right, no matter who endorsed the check.
- Do not attempt to minimize this team's very real problems.
We all know they were 20-62 last year, and they're not going to the playoffs this year. If we get, say, thirty-three wins, then we can try to characterize it as a moral victory or something. For now, though, Sam Presti's Wunderkind reputation is more provisional than proven.
- Should David Stern invite you to disparage the city of Seattle for some reason, respectfully decline.
Think of it as a divorce: there's nothing to gain by badmouthing your ex. And if they do get a team again, as I'm pretty sure they will, keep in mind that we're going to have to play them on their home court at least once, maybe twice, a year.
- Keep in mind that they're not just players; they're members of the community.
One reason the Hornets were so successful during their two-year stay here was that they were willing to get out and mix with the crowds and sign on to the usual public-service bandwagons. An admirable bunch of guys, they were. We expect no less from this bunch.
- Do not expect to be able to run everything on the cheap.
You've got one of the lower payrolls in the league, due mostly to a preponderance of younger players. You can't, however, assume that "just because we're under the cap" which, if I've read the numbers correctly, you aren't "everything's okay." At some point you can expect to have to shell out some serious money for some proven talent. You might want to start saving your spare change now.
I am, of course, no roundball expert, and don't pretend to be one. On the other hand, I predicted this move way back in December 2005, while the Sonics were still in the fumbling hands of Captain Starbuck, so I have at least a vague idea what's going on most of the time.
8 July 2008