After watching the Seattle Sonics relocate to Oklahoma City, snatched from the grasp of die-hard Sonics fans, it's natural to want a replacement. SonicsGate, for instance, has done an outstanding job bringing light to the process by which the Sonics left while lobbying for another franchise in Seattle. With the NBA purchasing the New Orleans Hornets on Monday, that dream may become a reality in the near future.
I, like many, would love a franchise in Seattle. But not this way. Not the same way we watched the Sonics snatched from us. In fact, the handling of the Hornets, and the saga that will predictably follow, may just be worse.
The NBA is purchasing -- actually taking-over -- the Hornets at a low, low foreclosure price. David Stern bought himself an NBA franchise for next to nothing, as far as NBA money goes. Then what's next? Inevitably, the NBA will sell that team for a higher price, inflating the value of the Hornets based on the ability to put the team wherever the new owner so chooses.
But, of course, as we saw with the Sonics, the public mantra will continue to be "we want to keep the team in New Orleans." As the public facade continues, back-room deals will be worked, brokering an agreement to ship the team off to whichever city the new owner chooses. In a moment of deja-vu, the team will move, leaving fans in another city high and dry. And thus, the vicious cycle of the NBA continues.
Stern will make all sorts of demands, attaching strings to any sale of the Hornets. An arena must be built that suits the league's demands, money must be spent at a certain rate and the NBA must continue to make a profit. It's all part of the dirty game that the league, and its commissioner, plays.
Our city's franchise is gone. The titles, the records, everything else, went with it. A void can be filled, but it doesn't change the fact that the original Sonics are gone, off to make an impression in the league under a new name. That will never change, and those that watched in horror as Clay Bennett and David Stern pick-pocketed the team from Seattle won't forget.
Do I want a hand-out from David Stern in the form of another NBA team, this time bought and sold by the league itself? No. Screw the NBA, screw David Stern and screw everyone involved in the mess that was the handling of the Sonics. Call me when we can get our own franchise, not steal one away in the same fashion the Sonics were stolen from Seattle. I refuse to endorse bending to Stern's will to secure a franchise the league acquired via a takeover.