BY PAUL L. WILLIAMS
The NBA regular season is a lot like the straight-haired Sandra Dee: nice but nothing special. The NBA playoffs, however, are the curly-haired, leather-clad Sandra Dee smoking a cigarette and demanding your attention.
And this year’s playoffs have certainly done that, with thrilling matchups that might be largely ignored by this market because of the Sonics leaving. However, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has yanked the spotlight from the eye-opening play with racist remarks he allegedly made during a dispute with his girlfriend. As a result, Sterling was banned for life by NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday, fined and will be persuaded to sell the Clippers. Simply put, Sterling got clipped.
Reports have a group with former NBA star Magic Johnson the leaders to acquire the Clippers, but I know just the group he could sell to.
The best way for the NBA to get out of this mess is for Sterling’s fellow owners to convince him to sell the team to the Chris Hansen/Steve Ballmer group from Seattle, which would be the perfect follow-up to Silver’s swift hammer of justice. Does anyone else find it odd that the two people of interest in this one are named Sterling and Silver?
For Seattle NBA fans, it’s a win-win. It not only would undo a wrong created when the Sonics left town in 2008, it would be a very easy move. The NBA could keep the Sonics in the same division and conference. Finally, it would spawn intriguing rivalries with the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder (for obvious reasons).
And, boy, would it be a win for Seattle. The Clippers are young and talented and have two of the top five players in the league at their respective positions – point guard Chris Paul and power forward Blake Griffin. Add emerging center DeAndre Jordan and one of the league’s top coaches in Doc Rivers and Seattle would land an instant contender. And if history (and the Seahawks’ Super Bowl run) has taught us anything, it’s that when a Seattle sports team is good, fans really get behind them.
Granted, the Hansen/Ballmer group would be a longshot. Magic Johnson’s group is reportedly interested in buying the Clippers and could keep them in Los Angeles. Above all, a team moving from the second-biggest market to the 13th biggest market isn’t considered good for TV contract negotations.
Any scenario that involves Sterling selling the team is a good one. But this scenario is an opportunity to put a Band-Aid on a fresh wound (the Sterling situation) and an ugly scar (Stern helping grease the Sonics’ exit to Oklahoma City in 2008).
Paul L. Williams is a network cost analyst for a Vancouver telecom company and is a former reporter/editor foe several publications in the Northwest. He now writes a blog called “From The Cheap Seats” for The Columbian in Vancouver, Wash.
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