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Sonics Links: Gary Payton Campaigning, Oklahoma City Renaming

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At some point in time, I'm sure Seattle basketball fans will get over the whole Sonics "relocation" thing.

But for now, Gary Payton tells Business World that he's still an advocate for bringing a NBA team back to Seattle.

BusinessWorld Online Edition: ‘The Glove’ settling well in retirement
Payton is also involved in a campaign to bring back an NBA franchise to the city of Seattle, where he played majority of his career with the SuperSonics.

"You know, I felt really bad [when the Seattle franchise folded in 2007]. So we’re hoping to get a franchise back there. A lot of NBA teams now want to relocate their clubs and hopefully they could consider Seattle. I’m going to do everything I can because I think the fans in Seattle deserve a basketball team there," said Payton, who partnered with Shawn Kemp to take the Sonics to the 1996 NBA Finals before losing to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.

I have never heard that "a lot of NBA teams now want to relocate", but a look at NBA attendance numbers for this past year (click here) might provide some ideas about candidates.

Meanwhile, we can hope that Oklahoma City allows us to just move on without, er, awkward names for the arena currently known as the Ford Center.

Love Shack, baby | Thunder Rumblings
There is no rule against NBA ownership putting its company name on its home arena. Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is chairman and founder of Quicken Loans, which adorns the Cavs’ home arena. Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos is co-founder of Amway, and the new Amway Center will become the team’s home this season.

Other local possibilities for the Thunder’s arena include Sonic and Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores. The Sonic name might be too awkward for the owners’ taste, given the franchise was called the Sonics while in Seattle.

I mean, they can name the place whatever they want, but...come on...

Ford name to come off Thunder's Oklahoma City arena - ProBasketballTalk - Basketball - NBC Sports
So who are likely bidders? What national corporations are based out of OKC?

As Tom Ziller first noted, Sonic Drive-In, the fastfood chain is. Talk about really rubbing salt in the wounds in Seattle -- first you steal their Sonics and change their name to the Thunder, then you force the team to play in Sonic Stadium? Ouch.