By Swish Beats
The championship future of the Seattle Supersonics was born on May 22nd, 2007, when fate (or David Stern’s ball boy) granted Seattle a mystical gift, and Kevin Durant was placed into the laps of our beloved struggling franchise.
Presto! The Sonics have a franchise player.
Since that time, the Sonics have been given a swift and aggressive face-lift by new wonder boy GM Sam Presti, hired away from the NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs. Gone are franchise faces Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, replaced by Jeff Green, Delonte West, Wally Sczerbiak (and his contract which expires in two years), Kurt Thomas (expires in one), and two first round draft picks from the Phoenix Suns.
Presti! The Sonics have a championship road map in place.
Without a doubt, Ray Allen would have still been the best player on the roster this season, including Kevin Durant. He’s a pro’s pro, an immaculate perfectionist, and would have provided a great example for Durant to imitate. Also, the Sonics will definitely lose more games THIS year than we would have with Ray in the lineup. But this will let them grab one of the many franchise point guards available in the 2008 draft lottery. Presti knew when to cash in on an aging veteran while he could still get peak value, and he took Danny Ainge to town, building for playoff wins down the road, and not temporary regular season success.
Jeff Green is a do-it-all silky but strong small forward that will make the Sonic Nation forget Rashard Lewis by his second year in the league. He also grew up in DC, just like Durant. Kevin used to watch Jeff play in high school, and looked up to Jeff and his game. Instead of Durant learning how to become “the man” from a player approaching retirement, these two studs will learn from each other as brothers, playing off of each other every step of the way as they take the league by storm together, side by side.
Presti! The Sonics have a team-first mentality.
Speaking of DC, that’s also where Delonte West grew up. Can someone say chemistry? West is that guy that you flat out HATE to play against. You just want to ask him, “Dude, why are you playing so hard all the time?” He has the defensive mentality and professionalism that Presti and new coach PJ Carlesimo (also from the Spurs) are looking for, and I believe he will be the Sonic’s starting point guard at some point during the next three years. (I say three years only because Luke might start until he is traded, which might be sooner rather than later, once the staff falls in love with Delonte)
Wally is a tougher pill to swallow, an aging veteran with a hefty contract. But the timing of his contract couldn’t be better. He and Chris Wilcox come off the books in two years, at which point the Sonics will be somewhere in the range of 20 plus million dollars under the salary cap. Durant and Green will have two years under their belts, and if the right free agent star is added to the mix, the Sonics will be very dangerous, and yet still very young.
Presti! The Sonics will be a team to be reckoned with, sooner than most realize.
Less analysis is necessary to understand how turning Rashard Lewis’s imminent departure into Kurt Thomas AND two first round draft picks (via a 9 million dollar trade exception from the Orlando Magic) was a stroke of genius. My favorite detail is that Presti was able to let Rashard go to the Eastern Conference, and yet take picks from a rival team in the West. Only GM’s with creativity and confidence could have done what he did with that trade exception.
Kurt Thomas will be solid for one season, and then most likely be let go. But he is also a true professional, and will help youngsters like newly buffed out Robert Swift learn the unspoken tricks of the trade during his short stay in Seattle.
Everyday I wake up hoping to read about a new deal that Presti has pulled off. I want more moves not because I don’t like where the roster is now, but because every time Sam Presti makes a move, it’s the right move to make. I trust him completely less than three months into the job.
Presti! The Sonics actually have hope!