I watched the NBA playoffs last night. Seeing the Thunder getting knocked out brought joy to my heart. Yes, I am one of those bitter Sonics fans who will always support any team other than the Thunder (by the way, worst team name in the NBA.) Yesterday was a bitter pill (it was decided that Seattle will not get an NBA team next year) and a then the Thunder lost and made everything better.
I will start with the bad news OKC fans, it is over. It was over last summer when you traded James Harden. Sure, you got two future first round picks from Houston. Those first round picks will land you outstanding middle-of-the-road talent. Late first round picks are worthless unless you have a GM who can see those diamonds in the rough, thank goodness no one in your front office will ever find one of those. Last year you landed Perry Jones (good work) two years ago you had three first round picks and got lucky once because you picked a Quincy Pondexter from the University of Washington.
Most of you are still thinking that Russell Westbrook’s injury was what prevented you from getting the NBA title. It could be, but it doesn’t matter because YOU LOST! It doesn’t matter why you lost, it just matters that you lost because you, my friends, have a cursed team.
Here is how the next ten years is going to roll out for your team. This summer your front office will go looking for a center who can play basketball better than your current centers. The team will pay this new player too much, in Seattle we call this the Jim Mcilvaine syndrome. The stars of your team will become disgruntled, demand more pay and then begin the next season with bad attitudes. The team will spin out of control for a little bit and then your front office will trade one of your best players to Milwaukee for Vin Baker, or a Vin Baker substitute of similar quality. Fans will rejoice and everything will be right with the NBA until the playoffs start and your Vin Baker substitute isn’t quite as tough as your previous star. This is when the fun really begins, because now you (do you guys say “y’all” in Oklahoma?) will be unhappy with the direction of the team. People will begin questioning the coaching and front office. Clay Bennett, your owner/James Bond supervillain, will announce a few changes and then raise ticket prices. Fans will become outraged and the new “center will not hold” the team together. Attendance will drop. The team will play like an NBA Developmental team and will finish in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference. Playoff loses will accumulate and after a few years the team won’t even make the playoffs. All of the superstar players you currently have will be too old to improve and will be traded away for younger players. Pretty soon your team will have one good player surrounded by twelve bad ones. This is when Clay Bennett will demand a new tax-payer funded stadium, oh, and he will raise ticket prices again. He will claim that he needs to improve the facility in order to improve the team. People in the community will ask, “Didn’t we just spend X number of dollars ten years ago on a stadium?” This is when Smeagol (aka David Stern) will swoop in and start the blackmailing process. You will have to decide whether to pay up or have the team move to another city worse than OKC. Fresno? Bakersfield? Waco? Smeagol will do his best to find another owner in the city, he is not very good at this so he will have to find another owner somewhere else. A new owner will appear and he will promise not to move the team. You will try to believe him, but you know behind those dead eyes, pretend smile, and ape-like forehead that the owner is going to do his best to sink the team to unheard of depths so people will stop going to games. The owner will raise ticket prices, hire a terrible coach (is PJ Carlesimo available? He usually is.) and start planning his escape. The team will be so bad that they will get great picks in the draft and will begin building a solid, young team, but it will be too late, your team will be off to Fresno and you will be left with an empty, almost new stadium and a bunch of old OKC Thunder t-shirts.
That is where it will end, except the team will change its name to the Fresno Fog and begin their rise to playoff contention. Smeagol will appear occasionally to thwart any efforts your city will make to get another NBA team and he will continue sucking the blood out of communities to extend his life. You will watch the Fresno Fog from a distance, you will enjoy the talent on the team, but in the end you will hope they lose.
Thanks for a great season. See you next year when you lose in the first round.