drdiags wrote:CPHawk wrote:I understand the hate for Stern, he's a king douche bag, but why no hate for your own civic leaders in Olympia and Seattle who pretty much kicked Stern in the ass? You have to ask yourself, if only our local guys would have just shown they would try would the Sonics be gone? Right now I would bet good money Stern wouldn't have let the Sonics move had they just tried a little bit, hell the Sac group has an agreement for a new Arena that is as stable as RGIII ACL, and we offered at least double what the Kings are worth, and they aren't moving.
To me the issue was the 95 remodel of Seattle Center. Plus the lease not being the type of lease that the NBA later figured all teams needed to make money with. Stern himself was shaking hands and kissing babies when the 95 remodel occurred, saying the arena was state of the art. Then 10 years later, after many folks felt the two other stadiums got forced upon them, it was going to be a hard sell to get people on board to build the Sonics a new arena. NBA was not happy.
Plus the fact that Ackerley and company chose a configuration to discourage the idea of sharing it with the NHL and the whole thing was just one calamity after another. Schultz couldn't get what he wanted, Stern was snubbed and away we go. Though many knew the endgame, Bennett was presented as willing to work with the locals prior to giving up on the region. It wasn't until after the fact that the Ballmers of the world tried to rally late. Relocation had already been approved before the rallying cry was on from what I remember.
I doubt Stern would have been an ally to stop relocation like he was with Sactown because our politicians didn't give him reason to. Bennett wasn't credible and was scorned here prior to filing for relocation but the league could see it was poisonous by the time they allowed him out. Of course he helped along the fight but that is for another day.
Yep, the governor, city council, mayor and state legislature all helped make it a layup to get the team out of town. They all can take a leap but most are gone except for a few major dickheads.
I think you're spot on, Doc - and we're on the same wavelength.
The only difference is I always feel the need to stick up for Ackerly, because I think he gets an unfair share of the blame for The Key (and it's also the main reason I'm worried about the current MOU until shovels are actually in the ground). Ackerly never wanted to shut the door on the NHL - he was forced into it. He originally owned the land where Safeco now sits and had plans for a 20K seat true multi-purpose arena. He worked on it for years and was willing to front the majority of $. The public portion was going to fine from parking garages he built and then leased to the city and shared the revenue from on game days. He wanted the NHL to be a future tenant. He also wanted the city to sign a "non-compete" agreement for the old Coliseum to help ensure the profitability of his arena by getting first crack at all the concert/convention revenue.
Ackerly had the support of the Mayor (IIRC, it was Norm Rice at the time) and I don't know if he had the equivalent of an MOU, bit he had signed agreements with City Council and was into the permitting process.
Political pressure from some of the Council ultimately killed the deal. The opposition mainly came from the fear that losing the Sonics would have too big ab negative impact on Lower Queen Anne and the City's ability to operate Seattle Center (ironic, isn't it?) They buried Ackerly in red-tape until he realized he wasn't going to get the deal done.
To Ackerly's credit he never played hardball, never threatened to move or sell, and he felt so strongly that the Sonics belonged in Seattle proper that he ultimately turned down overtures from Bellevue. (And he really had been stuck in a sub par building for a long time - the Sonics had a RAIN OUT game, the roof leaked so bad.) He then worked out the compromised remodel of the Coliseum into The Key.
The anti-NHL configuration was a choice that was begrudgingly made because of the physical limitations of the Coliseum and the footprint of the main pyramid support columns. In order to add the Suite level and still keep it at the 18K seat size, they had to lower the floor so much that the NHL ice would no longer fit. Any other plan would've required a complete tear-down and made the construction costs too high and the project never would've penciled out or got approval from the City.
The sacrifices that were made to keep the Sonics playing at Seattle Center eventually caused them to leave town entirely. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.