Latest Sonics Links: Keeping You Up to Date

The Sonics situation is getting more unpredictable by the hour. Here’s the latest from around the web to keep you up to date.

A Message From Chris Hansen.

SB Nation- Kings sale-  Seattle investor Chris Hansen vows to fight NBA decision.

Ian Thomsen- NBA’s Loyalty to Sacramento Could Prove Costly Financially.

From David Aldridge- Kings Might Stay in Sacramento.

Also from Aldridge, looking at the 12 Owners on the Relocation/Financial Committee.

King 5’s Take.

SuperSonicSoul on the Seattle SuperSonics vs. the NBA.

Jerry Brewer- NBA Changes the Rules, Breaks Hearts of Seattle Fans Again.

King 5’s Timeline of the Sonics Situation So Far.

Also from the Seattle Times, Heartbroken Sonics Fans React to Bad News from the NBA.

The PI’s Take on It All.

Finally, Seattle SuperSonics Relocation: The Hypocrisy of David Stern from Bleacher Report’s Todd Pheifer.

Speculative/Potential Sonics Coaches

The Kings had a poor season. They struggled on the court and needed a truly miraculous effort by Kevin Johnson to even give the city a small chance to keep the team. The Kings had a poor season, and regardless of the move to Seattle, are likely in for some changes.
This is why this is here, not to blow smoke on the matter, but to give you, my fellow Northwesterners, a look at who might be in the realm of possibility.

Phil Jackson. Everyone would like to have the Zen Master as their coach. But likely, no one will get him. Jackson is retired and will probably stay that way. We Sonics fans can dream, right?
(That isn’t to say that the rest of the list are garbage candidates, but there are few current coaches who can compete with the Zen Master, and we aren’t getting Popovich, Doc Rivers or George Karl. Wait a minute…)

George Karl. A dark horse at this point, probably more of a long shot. There is no thought process that the Nuggets can have that convinces them to let him go. Denver would probably want compensation for Karl if he left, big “if,” I know. They would also probably ask for the world, all of its moons, and half of Chris Hansen’s income next year. If Andre Iguodala leaves in free agency, Tyreke Evans isn’t a bad fit to replace him on the wing, from a “tools” stand point. He (Evans) could be a better defender, I know.

Brian Shaw. If Jackson is hired as a potential “czar” and/or advisor of the Sonics’ front office, then Shaw would make a whole lot of sense as the head coach. Shaw is widely regarded as one of the better assistant coaches in the league, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around why the Lakers didn’t give him the head coaching gig when the Zen Master retired.


Nate McMillan. Having Mr. Sonic back on the side lines would be a hand-in-glove fit. Insert Reign Man and Downtown puns here.
It’s all speculative at this point. Regardless of who the coach is, we’re getting basketball back in Seattle.
Who would you add to the list? Let me know in comments below.

Previewing the Near Future of the Mariners/Astros Rivalry

In a rivalry, both teams need to win for it to be considered a rivalry. The Astros won on Tuesday night… Check that box. So it’s a rivalry, now I’m able to write about it.

The Mariners are a good team who should be a dark-horse contender for a wildcard spot. The Astros are a bad team who should be a contender for the number-one overall pick.

The Astros are a transitional team, littered with former top prospects who have yet to make the jump to being established big leaguers but still show potential. Plus there are some veterans on short-term deals looking to reestablish their major league careers.

The Astros stink. There are no two ways around it.

Seattle is much too good for Houston. The Mariners aren’t going to become world-beaters; they aren’t going to be one of the Yankees teams of old. They’re going to be the Mariners. One of the upsides to that is that they will play the newest member of the AL, the aforementioned Houston Astros.

The Astros are really bad…(Wait didn’t I just write this? That’s how bad Houston is folks; they cause brief short-term memory loss. Take that to the bank!)

The Mariners are much more talented than Houston (Doing it again, sorry. Slaps forehead. I guess Houston is that horrible?)

What I’m really trying to say is that if Houston and Seattle play 20 times, it wouldn’t shock anyone, even Emerald City haters (yes, apparently some people hate the lovely city of Seattle, oh the horror) to see the M’s win 15-17 times out of 20 against the ‘Stros.

The term “rivalry” is being brought into play not just for the sake of making this piece hold water, but also because it will be a rivalry.

Houston is where Seattle was as recently as a few years ago. (Fun fact, both teams have Erik Bedard! Look out, if the Angels flame out and have a fire sale in the next three years, Erik Bedard will be there.) The Astros have their one solid piece to build around (Jose Altuve), and they’re trying to figure it all out. The Astros will definitely be better over the long term. They may serve to bolster the win column for Seattle nowadays, but in a few years with some shrewd moves, Houston will be back to relevancy.

(Another fun fact I forgot to mention, Ronny Cedeno was/is on the really-bad-now-good-later Mariners of a few years yonder and the current Astros. He might be on the ashes of an Angels’ team after that fire sale with Bedard.)

I guess the most comparable situation here in recent memory is that of the Blue Jays of the late 2000’s and the Orioles of that time period. One team is a good team stuck in a tough division, and the other team, while stuck in the same tough division, is horrendous.

Seattle will win most of its games with Houston, but give it some patience (a few years) and the Astros will be providing you with bang for your buck at the old Safeco Field.

Books Fit for a King(dome): Recommended Reads from Kingdome of Seattle Sports

Book One: The Book of Basketball. A fantastic read from Bill Simmons where he looks at all things basketball as well as ranking the best players in NBA history. It is a fantastic read that will captivate you for many a reading session.

Book Two: The Best American Sports Writing, 2010 version. A well-put-together series of the best pieces from around the world of sports circa 2010. Wright Thompson’s piece on a mysterious boxer in Miami is particularly good.

Book Three: possibly my favorite. Which is to pick a grand champion out of champions. It’s nothing against the others, but this one is just that good. Larry Bird and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, along with Jackie MacMullan recount everything from Bird and Magic’s respective upbringings to their rise to fame, to their success on the “Dream Team.” This book is so good. I bought it in a book store in Portland and was nearly finished with it by the time we got back to Seattle. It’s that good. You won’t regret reading it.

If you enjoy some of my selections, you can see more here.

The Jason Bay/Casper Wells Post-Conundrum Analysis

The Mariners made no secret of their desire to beef up their middle-of-the-order in the off-season. They turned John Jaso into Mike Morse. That transaction, however early it might be, is paying off. They signed Raul Ibanez to hit for power and make sure Morse wasn’t the only new-old Mariner. They also signed Jason Bay.

The Mariners’ outfield was clogged to begin with. Michael Saunders, Franklin Gutierrez, Trayvon Robinson, Eric Thames, Carlos Peguero and Wells were all fighting for a third of the outfield pie. You add the new power bats and some people are going to have to go.

Robinson was dealt to Baltimore and Thames and Peguero are playing in Tacoma, Guti and Grand Torrido (that’s Saunders, you can see my explanation here) are starting for the Mariners.

The final outfield spot, in the end, came down to Bay or Wells.

Bay, six years Wells’ senior who is on an expiring contract and hit .165 in nearly half of a season in New York.

Or Wells, the prototypical fourth outfielder who is controlled by the team longer, is younger and cheaper than Bay.

Wells might be one of the more cynically undervalued players in the league. He played well enough to get more ABs in Seattle, however, due to the crowded outfield (see above,) wasn’t able to get them. Wells is never going to be a mega superstar, but given a decent number of at bats, he could be a very solid contributor offensively and defensively.

Wells, again given decent playing time, is a plus defender who could hit around 20 homers in a full season.

But instead the team went with Bay, who if he plays well, is likely to garner a new contract next year from someone else.

That’s no slant on Bay, but in a situation like this when the spot up for grabs is third string corner outfield/DH position, then you should probably go with the younger, cheaper, longer controlled, better defensive player.

Oh, the travesties of baseball.

HELLO!!! It’s Really Early, Maybe Too Early, but the Mike Morse Trade is Already Paying Dividends

If you watched yesterday’s Mariner game, then you probably saw Mike Morse go bananas. One of Seattle’s newest, oldest Mariners (Raul Ibanez is the other,) ripped Oakland’s pitchers to shreds with a 2/4 performance that include two long balls and a total of four runs batted in.

This is significant not just because Morse outscored the A’s by his lonesome, nor because he nearly out hit them. But because of how good of a sign this is for the Mariners’ offense.

This was a big game from a Mariner hitter, something that was few-and-far-between for hitters on last year’s team, especially middle-of-the-order types.  The key here is that Morse turned in the first multi-homerun and/or four RBI (at the least) game of the season for Seattle. Something that took the M’s a little under a month and some late inning heroics from Michael Saunders to produce last season.

It’s a small milestone, but a positive one for the Mariners as they move to 2-0.