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The NBA is headed back to Washington

A GRIP ON SPORTS • UPDATED: 9:50 A.M.

The NBA has never held any real fascination for me. There was a time when I was real young and the Lakers were the league's continual bridesmaids, then I was an NBA fan. Later, when I shared the backcourt for St. Rita's School with Joe Mullaney, the son of the Lakers' coach, I was a fan then as well. And Magic Johnson, he made me a fan. The matchups with Larry Bird's Celtics, those were classics. But other than that, the NBA hasn't been on my radar much. Read on.


••••••••••

• Any last vestige of NBA-fandom disappeared with the Sonics. Like most sports fans, I follow the local teams, so I always knew what was going on with them, even when their claim to fame was drafting a bunch of stiff 7-footers – anyone know what ever happened to Rich King or Robert Swift? But when they left Seattle, one of the most beautiful cities in the nation, for Oklahoma City, which isn't, my interest in the NBA waned once again. So the recent news the Sonics, or a new incarnation of them, were headed back to Seattle, really hasn't moved my dial all that much. Oh, there is a bit of interest, but not a ton. It's been a long time since the Sonics were important and even longer since the Sacramento Kings, who will become the Sonics next season if everything works out, were. Sure, no matter how good or bad the team is, Key Arena should be packed next season for every game. But then the newness will wear off, nostalgia won't drive the gate and the team will have to win on its own to draw crowds. In Seattle (see the Seahawks), winning brings in the folks while losing teams languish (see the Mariners). Here are the Kings' records since their last winning season of 2005-06 (when they were 44-38): 33-49, 38-44, 17-65, 25-57, 24-58, 22-44 and this year's 16-26. Positively Mariner-esque. And not at all exciting. With this in mind, we decided to ask you how you felt, hence today's poll. Let's see if you are excited. Down the road, we'll ask you the million-dollar question: Will you pay to see them play?

•••

• Washington State: Another light day in Pullman, though Christian Caple has a morning blog post and the promise of returning later today with news and notes from Ken Bone's weekly press conference (UPDATE: Bone's conference call with the local media was cancelled due to travel problems – Bone was in Seattle yesterday – so Christian probably won't have a lot from him today). … Guess who is atop the Pac-12 basketball standings? The Oregon Ducks, who are on the opposite end of the how-they-were-expected-to-play scale from Stanford and California.

• Gonzaga: Not a lot on the Zags, though Andy Katz took a last look yesterday at their loss to Butler. GU also hosts BYU and leading scorer Tyler Haws on Thursday. … (UPDATE: According to ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst, former GU point guard Jeremy Pargo has been released by Cleveland.)

• EWU: The football awards keep flowing in for the Eagles, with Vernon Adams named the FCS Freshman of the Year by the Sporting News. … The Eagle women won their third consecutive Big Sky game.

• Idaho: Utah State suffered a couple of huge injuries in the past week.

• Whitworth: One family has contributed key players to the Pirates' mens' and womens' teams. Steve Christilaw has a feature on the McConnell siblings (that's Dustin pictured).

• Chiefs: It was probably a beaten-down group of Chiefs – they had lost three consecutive games – that trekked to Portland for yesterday's showdown with the Winterhawks, but the outcome – a 5-2 Spokane win – must have lifted their spirits.

• Preps: There were a couple of prep games yesterday so we have a roundup.

• Seahawks: Russell Wilson is headed to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl.

• Mariners: There is a report floating around the M's have signed a backup catcher, though it might not be their last move in that area.

• Sounders: Fredy Montero's loan has been officially announced, so the list of players who were with the team when it began MLS play in 2009 is down to six. So what happens next? The immediate future is upon us.

• Sonics: We linked a few of the Sonics stories above, but we also have a couple more here, basically the nuts-and-bolts stories the Times covered today concerning the move.

•••

• Did you notice one small change today? I decided to list the Sonics news under the team name instead of the generic NBA. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself but I thought, what the heck. Until later …


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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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