Bill Simmons: "NBA determined to screw over Sonics fans"

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  • Not that I've been even remotely hopeful or optimistic about the Sonics crusade of late. But reading this from Bill Simmons' latest mail bag was beyond depressing.

    Keep in mind, Simmons works on ESPN's NBA pregame show, is buddies with Magic Johnson, the GM of the Rockets, and many more. He has A TON of NBA connections. A TON. This isn't the first time he's said this, either.

    Q: News just broke that [Chris] Hansen is funding an anti-arena group in Sac, hoping to bring it to a public vote (and sabotage their deal). I suspect otherwise. I think it's only, say 30%, about Sac and 70% about getting an expansion team. It's clear that Hansen has ZERO leverage right now. (He's the perfect blackmail for every other struggling franchise — as you have already pointed out.) Also, there's an election coming in Nov. and it's possible that several of Seattle's top politicians, who signed off on the MOA that eliminates the Seattle public arena vote, could go away. The ONLY leverage Hansen has to move this forward is to make this Sac arena deal an ugly public fight. Nobody wants that. Hansen's end game: tells Stern he'll call off the dogs if NBA commits in writing to a Seattle expansion team. What other play does he have?
    —Tom, Seattle


    SG: You're right. Here's what Hansen knows …

    1. Regardless of what they're saying publicly, Adam Silver and David Stern have turned Seattle into a relocation blackmail city for every NBA owner who needs to muscle his city for help building a state-of-the-art arena. NBA Seattle = NFL Los Angeles.

    2. Our last collective bargaining agreement was apparently negotiated by Billy Hunter while he was dressed like General Custer. Did Billy have any idea that Fox Sports 1 and NBC Sports Network were coming, or that live content in the DVR/Twitter/Netflix era was the single most important TV property you could have? It's unclear. But the league's franchise values have been climbing from the moment that lockout ended. Three years ago, Joe Lacob's group paid $350 million less for the Warriors than they're worth today. Josh Harris's group paid a little less than half as much for the Sixers as Vivek Ranadive paid for the Kings just 30 months later. Hansen missed his window to steal an NBA franchise for anything resembling a good price.

    3. You'd be crazy to sell an NBA team right now. Even if you own a team in a less-than-thriving market — say, Detroit or Charlotte — you could thrive by throwing out a $45 million player payroll, collecting TV/merchandising/luxury tax revenue and letting your franchise appreciate. That's how we knew the Maloofs were broker than broke: NOBODY wants to sell an NBA team right now, and yet they had to sell their team.

    OK, so you're Chris Hansen. (Not To Catch a Predator Chris Hansen, but Really Really Rich Chris Hansen.) You and Steve Ballmer just spent the last two years making it clear that you'd do anything to bring basketball back to Seattle, even if meant overoveroverpaying for the Kings. And you didn't just get screwed over; David Stern effectively hit you over the head with a steel chair, then climbed on the top rope while waving "THE SONICS ARE DEAD" and "CLAY BENNETT 4EVER!" T-shirts at Seattle fans. You're not getting an expansion team at anything less than extortion prices for a simple reason: Why would the other 30 NBA owners want to dilute their share of the league's booming media rights? They don't care if Seattle has a basketball team. I can't see Hansen getting an expansion team for less than $1.05 billion ($35 million per franchise), and at that point, why even do it?

    Your only possible relocation prey? The perennially mediocre Milwaukee Bucks, who rank behind the Packers, the Brewers, Wisconsin basketball, Marquette basketball, Wisconsin football, and the Packers a second time on the Wisconsin Sports Fan Priority Scale.3 Still, they're owned by retired politician Herb Kohl — or as every NBA employee respectfully calls him, "The Senator" — a 78-year-old guy who doesn't seem especially motivated to become The Guy Who Killed Professional Basketball in Milwaukee. Even if you offer a record price for the Bucks (something like $850 million, not including the relocation fee), nobody thinks Kohl would bite. He's the same guy who values being a perennial no. 8 seed over blowing things up and going into über-tank mode (like the Sixers just did). Now he's just going to quit on professional basketball in Milwaukee completely? At his age???

    So if you can't get an expansion team, and you can't get the Bucks, who's left? The answer: nobody. Hence the turd-in-the-punch-bowl strategy with the Sacramento vote. Maybe it's a legal Hail Mary, but it's the only move Hansen has left. And it's not going to work. The NBA seems determined to screw over Sonics fans for as long as humanly possible. Uh-oh, I feel a song coming on …

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    SeaTown81
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  • Meh, I'm almost over it.

    I'll continue support for the Heat though... GO AHEAD AND JUDGE ME.
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  • Crap...........always new stern was out to screw to us.
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  • Might as well have sued and fully burned that bridge then.
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  • JOz56 wrote:Might as well have sued and fully burned that bridge then.


    Was hoping for it. Dragging the NBA into court would have been tremendous.
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  • This is why "the scorched earth" lawsuit option was and still may be the best route. Hardball is the only language that D-bag Stern and his henchman Silver understand! Nice guys ALWAYS finish last!
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  • I dont care anymore. I just dont have the emotional energy to commit to this wild goose chase again. To say I am done with the NBA would be an understatement.

    wake me up when we have a real chance.
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Re: Bill Simmons:
Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:45 pm
  • Tech Worlds wrote:I dont care anymore. I just dont have the emotional energy to commit to this wild goose chase again. To say I am done with the NBA would be an understatement.

    wake me up when we have a real chance.

    I concur. My main hope is getting an NHL team, no arena NO NHL, No Sonics no arena...... Though I think the CH/Balmer/Nordstrom ownership would be a good one. But, yeah, the NBA can pretty much go bleep itself!
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  • I'm not giving up. Could use some good news for a change though.
    Russell Wilson and Chris Hansen. My man crushes.
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  • I don't understand why Seattle fans even want anything to do with the NBA at this stage.
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  • I think a lot are over it. I am hoping for hockey and know that an NBA arena is the easiest avenue to landing a hockey team.
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  • I'm over it. Basketball is dead to me nowadays. Stern can go f**k himself for all I care.
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  • CALIHAWK1 wrote:I think a lot are over it. I am hoping for hockey and know that an NBA arena is the easiest avenue to landing a hockey team.


    Yup, this is where I'm pretty much at. I'd love for the Sonics to return, but I'm mostly interested in the NHL at this point.
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  • Let's put it this way: If we can get an NHL-only arena built somewhere in King County, I will have 0% interest in the NBA ever again. I have not seen an NBA game since 2008, and I don't exactly miss it at this point. Anger has given way to apathy. If you had told 12-year-old me back in the mid-'90s that I would not care about NBA basketball fifteen years later, that kid would have been incredulous.
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  • Smelly McUgly wrote:Let's put it this way: If we can get an NHL-only arena built somewhere in King County, I will have 0% interest in the NBA ever again. I have not seen an NBA game since 2008, and I don't exactly miss it at this point. Anger has given way to apathy. If you had told 12-year-old me back in the mid-'90s that I would not care about NBA basketball fifteen years later, that kid would have been incredulous.


    Not sure there's any such thing as an NHL only arena. If it works for NHL, it would work for NBA.
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  • The problem is there isn't the money in hockey nor anything but a small faction of the grassroots support to get something done. You'd need some private investor to come gift an arena for almost no cost to the city/county, which isn't happening. Hockey fans have to keep riding Sonics fans' coattails or they basically have no hope barring a guardian angel type hockey owner coming in.
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  • Throwdown wrote:Meh, I'm almost over it.

    I'll continue support for the Heat though... GO AHEAD AND JUDGE ME.


    I'm a heat fan too since they knocked off the Thunder.
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  • Yeah, I'm well aware that it would take a Chris Hansen of hockey to get an arena like that done here, or a city like Redmond really wanting to build an arena and issuing bonds like mad to do it. Both long shots, but something that I would rather put positive energy into than dealing with the NBA as an organization ever again.
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  • Has anything came from Chris's camp on this and from or from the the NBA? I see a lot of speculation but nothing saying anything concrete, or is everyone in a wait and see mode concerning Sacramento still as not to burn the bridge in the event of a emergency.
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  • This was an interesting comment by Ric Bucher

    http://sulia.com/channel/basketball/f/f69e0995-14aa-482c-a3ba-03eda5b5bde2/?source=twitter

    I asked one of the more influential NBA owners recently what impact the discovery that Chris Hansen made a donation
    to an anti-arena cause in Sacramento could have on Seattle landing a future franchise. His response: none. The market is too strong and the pockets of Hansen and Steve Ballmer too deep for NBA owners to suddenly get all sanctimonious. How deep? The aforementioned owner floated the idea of the Seattle group being the first to pay a $1 billion expansion fee. The exchange was by text, so there's always a chance that some important nuance or tone was lost -- neither of us is an emoticon subscriber -- but it's a stunning premise. The most interesting part is the idea that the league would be willing to sate Seattle's thirst for a team by expanding, an option that never had much traction among the league sources I spoke to during the Sacramento-Seattle battle over the Kings. And as exorbitant as that sounds -- it reportedly cost $300 million for the Charlotte Bobcats to join the party in 2004 -- it's simply the current NBA owners recognizing an opportunity. Can anyone doubt how hungry Hansen and Ballmer are to bring the game back to Seattle? Or that they have the requisite resources to pay practically whatever it might take? It's the perfect gambit: the NBA doesn't need a 31st team, so if that number is too high, no worries. But, if Hansen and Ballmer truly want a seat at the table, why not put the cover charge where even the New Yorks and L.A.s see the value of their franchises rise because of it? Perhaps this owner was merely spitballing, or perhaps throwing a crazy notion out there just to see the response, but under-estimate the appetite of any group of owners at your peril. about 2 hours ago
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  • How close were they to paying a billie for the Kings?
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  • Throwdown wrote:How close were they to paying a billie for the Kings?


    I think the last offer was 625m, which is probably what got them thinking possibly about expansion in the first place. I doubt they'd drop a bill for expansion, but I'm sure there is a high number, if it goes this route, that they are willing to accept.
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