I was approached earlier this week, as many in the NBA blogger community have, about joining the protest against this injustice. The good folks at http://sonicscentral.com/blog/ have been leading a valiant charge and I commend their efforts.
I know the outrage I felt when there was even a hint that the Sixers might be moved elsewhere. Contrary to what owners think sports franchises really belong to the fans. Ultimately we pay the bills. It's usually because you're doing a crappy job if the franchise isn't generating enough revenue. After all its the Philadelphia 76ers not the Comcast Spectacor 76ers or the Jaye-Z Nets. A team is nothing without their fans, whether they are in the arena ($) or watching on TV ($$) or buying fan merchandise ($$$).
You have to give Ed Snider and Comcast Spectacor some credit for building their our venue, because they viewed it as a business investment. Instead of holding a city like Seattle hostage because they don't have an area with lucrative luxury boxes. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong. But hasn't Seattle just gone through this with the Seahawks and the Mariners? Downtown Seattle has two huge retractable dome stadiums built with tax payers money. How much can you expect them to put up with. The Sonics have a great history in Seattle. How can the NBA condone kicking them to the curb, because they have a new owner with an agenda. Shouldn't that be considered when they make the sale (or perhaps it has been done behind closed doors)?
I can see where Oklahoma City is coming from. What they did for the Hornets is commendable. A major pro sports franchise to a place like OK city is a badge of honor. It means they have arrived. It means they are a real metropolitan area. But not at another city's expense if they are doing their best to support the team. Do you know why OK city is attractive to a new owner? 'Cause they are so jazzed about the badge of honor they don't care what the team does. They don't care if the ownership does a crappy job. There's no accountability for the owner. The city will just throw money at them. It's a license to steal.
But if not the Sonics then how do you reward Oklahoma City? It's no secret Dave Stern has an expansionist agenda (He's thinking mostly about Europe). But I just can't see adding a new franchise anytime soon. Let's face facts. The talent pool in the NBA is diluted already. Another franchise would send the level of play down the tubes. Moving the Grizzles seems like the most viable option. They couldn't make it work in Vancouver and are struggling in Memphis. They don't have the roots that any other NBA team has. They'd sure have to change the name though. Oklahoma City Cowboys ... Rattlers ... Ranchers ... I dunno?