Meet, the Seattle Supersonics. Throughout history, the Seattle organization had been overlooked by many fans of the NBA due to the rise of players like MJ, Shaq and Kobe. That didn’t stop the team from finding success in it’s own way. Going through history with players like the Glove Gary Payton, the most vicious dunker in Shawn Kemp, movie star Jesus Shuttlesworth among others.
Capturing a championship in 1979, the Sonics seemed like a team that was a mainstay. Meet Howard Schultz, who purchased the team in 2001. I don’t want to dive too far into him, let’s just agree that he was more of a man that treated the Sonics like a business, and not a franchise.
After the team started to see huge financial loses and failing to put a competent roster around star Ray Allen, the team seemed to be at it’s lowest of lows. Rumblings start to come about that the local government would not help with a stadium update, that would have been a mere $220 million, and the team is sold. The new owner is here to try and stay in Seattle with the teams history, but the same government denies him a $500 million stadium. Clay Bennett, after trying to remain where the team belongs, notifies the NBA that the team is filing for relocation to Oklahoma City.
Fans that love the franchise had gone through an era with greats and were about to lose the team that they loved. Imagine for a moment, having the second pick in the 2007 NBA Draft and picking a lanky Small Forward named Kevin Durant after “missing” on Greg Oden. This rookie goes on to become a star in the making, winning rookie of the year after averaging 20 points per game and signing a deal with Nike that only LeBron could top. The very next year with the fourth pick, you pick an athletic guard out of UCLA named Russell Westbrook to be the counterpart to your newly found star.
By this time, the Sonics we’re no more, and the duo of young studs would look to make a name in the home of tornado alley. Add a James Harden and Serge Ibaka to the equation, and you have a dynasty in the making (One finals trip). Because of the failure of GM Sam Presti and Clay Bennett to shell out additional cash to retain your sixth man of the year and future star in Harden, you trade away one of the legs of your team. Durant leaves just a few years later, and you are left with Russell Westbrook, an MVP in his own right, but a player that many consider to be unwinnable with.
The Thunder would trade for All Star and Defensive Player of the year, Paul George in exchange for Victor Olidipo and a few other pieces. Fast forward to right now, with CP3 and a war chest of draft picks that rival what the Celtics had. Oklahoma is clearly invested in the future of their team, knowing that they cannot win right now. The league is in a weird flux of duo’s that run the league, and the Thunder will probably look to move CP3 to a team with one star.
In doing so, they will be moving forward looking to either offload these picks for players that want out of current situations, or moving up to acquire young talent for teams that are looking to rebuild. With the Thunder being at their lowest of lows, is there a time that would make more sense for a relocation back home?
Fans in Seattle still mourn for a team, and some NBA stars have even agreed that the town needs basketball. When it’s former star Kevin Durant was asked by ESPN if the team would ever have a team again, he said this.
“For sure,” Durant told ESPN. “Most definitely. It’s a basketball city. It’s a sports town. … They have a good representation of basketball in the NBA from Seattle-born players, Washington state-born players. And I feel like that whole brand deserves an NBA team. Just like the Golden State Warriors deserve a team or the Los Angeles Lakers deserve a team, Seattle is that same way. [A team] has that same type of impact in the community. So [we have] a lot of time in life before this whole thing is over, and I’m sure we’ll see a team before it’s time.”
He among other stars, would love to play in Seattle and with a boatload of picks, a return to Seattle is exactly what the NBA needs to replace the middle of the road franchise in OKC. The next dynasty should be in Seattle.