With the Sonics back in the news, it's only fitting that I finally get around to posting about a trade I made with Billy over at Cardboard History.
Due to the partial fault of my own and partial fault of sellers on Sportlots, I ended with multiples of Stickums 2 Base cards from 96-97 Collector's Choice. I didn't due to my due diligence prior to purchase to make sure the cards were correctly sorted and neither did the sellers. Only after I was I looking at scans on TCDB did I realize my mistake.
The cards were cheap so I didn't want to run the expense of mailing them back for refunds. Rather, I thought I could turn them into a trade. Fortunately, I was able to make a trade with Billy for some Supersonics. He even sent a few more than I asked for! Thanks!
I'm not going to bury the lead. Here is the highlight of the trade: a Kevin Durant rookie card! This is actually from the 07-08 Topps Rookie insert but a great card to have either way.
It was bad enough that the Sonics were swept out of town by the backstabbing Clay Bennett but Seattle had only a brief glimpse of a likely Hall of Famer. I know everyone and their brother in Oklahoma were mad at Durant when he left the Thunder but I couldn't have been happier. I can finally root for Durant again.
|2005-06 Upper Deck Rookie Debut|
This set name is a misnomer as not all of the cards in the sets are of rookies. None of these Sonics players were rookies at the time. I still like the look of the cards so I'm willing to overlook the discrepancy. Now that I have Collector's Choice under wraps, I'm considering adding this set to my active set want list.
Up above I mentioned that the Sonics were in the news again but it's not the team that is in the news, it's the proposed stadium.
Back a few years ago, an investor named Chris Hansen pledged to build a basketball arena in Seattle and bring back the Sonics. Woohoo! Hansen, who grew up in Seattle, should know that this city does not like to make decisions quickly. His plan was to build an arena near all the other Seattle stadiums using $200 million in bonds backed by the city.
The Seattle City Council wasn't quite sure if it liked the idea but eventually entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that basically said they would issue the bonds. The major caveat was that Hansen had to secure a team first. The NBA won't even talk expansion prior an arena plan is in place and Sacramento managed to hold onto their team despite a rocky future at one point.
This last week, Hansen unleashed a new plan: he would pay for the entire stadium himself. No public money would be necessary. All he wants is for the City to give him part of a public street is necessary for the arena and in return Hansen will pay about $20 million for a transportation project that the City needs to be funded. This is a game changer.
The biggest opponents of the new arena are the Port of Seattle ("too much traffic interfering with our freight!") and the Mariners ("it will depress our attendance more than the on the field action!"). If this deal doesn't happen, it will ultimately be due to the Port convincing the City Council that "thousands" of jobs will be lost. Personally, I think it's mere puffery by the Port.
There's one more wrinkle to the Hansen arena plan. But before I mention that, I want to remark that above is a Shawn Kemp rookie card! The Reign Man! I love it.
Back to the Stadium, one would think that with the news of Hansen's new plan, the City would be ecstatic. Not quite. A few days after the news, Seattle mayor Ed Murray announced that the City would soon be accepting Requests for Proposals to develop the Key Arena into a multipurpose facility that could handle NBA or NHL teams.
This is mind boggling for several reasons. First, the Key Arena is owned by the City of Seattle. To renovate the Key so that it could handle the NBA will cost somewhere between $200-$300 million. That's $200-$300 million in public money. Hansen is building an arena at $0 cost to the public.
Second, the Key is located in a transportation abyss. The bus service to the Key is less than adequate. Hansen's proposed arena is currently served by light rail and multiple, branching bus stops. The Key has very limited public parking nearby. The opposite is true of the proposed Sonics arena. Lastly, the road service to and around the Key is tight. Traffic leaving a new Sonics arena could take any number of roads out of there.
Whenever and wherever we get a new Sonics arena, at least I'll have these Sonics cards.