Sonics-watcher Peter Nussbaum has inevitably been watching the team’s new ownership, and he says he’s seen this pattern before:
I think if you checked the “Robert Irsay Guide to Moving a Franchise,” you’d see that [Clay] Bennett and Co. have gone according to plan:
STEP ONE Check
Find team to purchase. This is important.
STEP TWO Check
Attempt to put positive spin on non-local ownership taking over a beloved local institution. Make not-so-funny jokes about the differences between your hometown and your new team’s location.
STEP THREE Check
Find some local types to put in “important” positions.
STEP FOUR Check
Make obligatory efforts to keep team in town, keeping Commissioner and League happy, as well as intimating that you don’t want to move. Be sure that the requests you make would never be accepted by local government, though; you don’t want to screw up and not be able to move the team!
STEP FIVE Check
Gut front office.
STEP SIX Check
Start stonewalling media. Remember, no news is good news for your plan. The more you get people to hate you and your team, the easier it will be to move!
STEP SEVEN TBD
I can find only one flaw with this premise: Bob Irsay actually called Mayflower.