Fact: Clay Bennett and his posse never planned to keep the Sonics in Seattle.
They never said it, but shit, I never came right out and said I wanted to nail that old lady who bought me a beer back at the South End pub back in April of ’02. Didn’t make things any less itchy the next week.
Scratch that. (I know I did).
The point is, if you accept that they want to get out of town, every move over the past year makes perfect sense. If you don’t, you have to believe a bunch of guys who’ve made more money than Robert Swift in an ugly contest suddenly turned into a bunch of business and public-relations retards.
Since we’re accepting this as fact, we’re also going to assume they don’t care about winning games while they’re in Seattle – in fact, it’s in their interest to lose as many games as they possibly can for the duration of their stay.
It serves three purposes:
1. It suffocates any hope of a groundswell-inducing playoff run.
2. It drives down attendance, helping their case to bolt when the NBA relocation reviews their application in April.
3. It sets them up for a good lottery pick in the 2008 draft, perhaps giving the OklaHonics three top-five picks on their roster and one hell of a team around 2010.
Fact: There are roughly 50 former coaches in the same tier as P.J. Carlesimo. He had six seasons of experience before the Seattle SuperSonics hired him last summer. He’s had three winning seasons. This will be his be his fourth below .500, and probably his third below .300. He’s a white-bread, middle-of-the-road coach, the reaction to whom can best be described as “eh.” He’s basically indistinguishable from Mike Montgomery, Bernie Bickerstaff, Bob Weiss and 47 or so other guys.
He’s uninspiring, utterly replaceable, and would be mostly anonymous, except …
Fact: Ever since Latrell Sprewell so famously choked the living shit out of P.J., NBA teams have unanimously chosen middling coaches not named P.J. Carlesimo when they wanted to hire a middling coach.
Carlesimo’s neck has had 10 years to heal, but his reputation never has. When other teams wanted a milquetoast coach, their former players’ lack of attempted coachicide worked as an adequate tiebreaker. So:
Thesis: Carlesimo was hired by the Sonics because he can be manipulated into dropping games. He’s a mark, a patsy. Clay is Lebowski, P.J. is The Dude (El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing).
Let’s say P.J. gets cross-ways with ownership. Ownership fires P.J., then insinuates he couldn’t get along with, say, Kevin Durant, and there was no choice but to drop him before another “incident” occurred. Suddenly, our boy is lucky to get a job as the towel boy for DeVry University’s co-ed intramural team.
And P.J. didn’t spend the last 10 years in yoga class. Just ask Durant:
“He yells and screams and stuff, but he’s a great coach.”
Durant is probably half right: He does know yelling and screaming and stuff, so we’ll take his word for it. But the kid played for Rick “Let’s use Durant as a decoy” Barnes in college, so maybe great-coach-knowing isn’t really his forte.
Look, the Sonics weren’t going to make the playoffs this year, even if Red Auerbach rose from the grave and made John Wooden, Norman Dale and Jesus Christ his assistants.
But the difference between winning 20-something games and winning 30-something games – this season, for this team? Do the ’95 Mariners ring a bell? How about The Great NBA Tank-Off of 2007?
Bench the wrong guy here, draw up a shitty play there, mismanage the clock a little in close games, and, most importantly, keep your fucking mouth shut, choke-boy.
Anyone know where to find a good neck-brace manufacturer in Oklahoma City?