SEATTLE Turns out, the SuperSonics are still in Seattle.
All their stuff is, anyway.
One week after a $45 million settlement allowed the team to move to Oklahoma City, green-and-gold Sonics banners are still flying at KeyArena. Likenesses of Xavier McDaniel, Slick Watts and Nate McMillan hover over the concession areas. Championship banners dating from the Sonics' Western Conference title in 1977-78 through the Northwest Division championship in 2004-05 hang above the court. Lampposts outside still have Sonics signs on them.
Across Seattle Center at the Furtado Center, equipment still fills their practice facility, awaiting moving vans. Al Lima, a Sonics security man inside the front door, dutifully remains at his post.
"Still here. Yes, it still exists," Lima says cheerfully. "No moving trucks yet."
He's wearing a tan golf shirt with the Sonics logo on it. A Seattle Sonics team banner is still hanging on the wall over his shoulder, next to the practice court bearing the Seattle SuperSonics logo. Upstairs, the offices of team executives and coaches sit vacant but equipped.
"I'm coming to work business as usual, until someone tells me otherwise. I'm usually the last to know," he says, chuckling. "I'm going on 10 years here.
"I don't think I'm going to make it to 10, though."
No, he won't. The Sonics are moving to Oklahoma, without most team employees. But not without 41 years of history in Seattle.
That remains stuck in a weird state of limbo. Lawyers from the team and the city are negotiating the details of last week's hastily drafted settlement that freed the Sonics to owner Clay Bennett's hometown. As they talk, the fate of the Sonics' history even Squatch, the team's furry mascot far more suited for the woods of the Northwest than the prairies of the Heartland sits in wait.
The museum designated in the agreement to house Sonics memorabilia is also waiting. Seattle's Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) doesn't know if it will even be allowed to display items such as the 1979 NBA championship trophy or be forced to lock four decades of Sonics history into a storage closet. It's part of an odd "shared history" arrangement in which officials from Oklahoma City and Seattle would remove memorabilia to display periodically. -->
GOLDEN STATE SIGNS MAGGETTE: The Golden State Warriors acquired free agent Corey Maggette on Thursday, signing away the Los Angeles Clippers' scoring leader. While the team would not comment on terms of the contract, a person with knowledge of the deal previously told The Associated Press that Maggette would be signed for 5 years at around $50 million.
DURANT WON'T APPEAR OPPOSITE BEASLEY: Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant didn't make a return appearance in summer league play Thursday in Orlando. Oklahoma City said it was holding Durant out, though the forward said earlier this week he wanted to compete against the Miami Heat's Michael Beasley. The two are friends, and fellow No. 2 overall draft picks.
KINGS' MILLER SUSPENDED: Brad Miller of the Sacramento Kings was suspended for five games by the NBA on Thursday because the center violated the league's drug program. Miller's ban will begin with the first game of the 2008-09 season. "I want to apologize to my family, teammates, fans and the entire Kings organization," Miller said in a statement released by the Kings. "I made a mistake. It was an error in judgment, and I'm very sorry. I regret it deeply. It's something I won't and can't take lightly."
BIG PLANS FOR OKAFOR: Larry Brown has big plans for Emeka Okafor. The new Charlotte Bobcats coach is hoping he'll get to work with him. With contract talks involving the restricted free agent moving slowly, Brown made it clear Thursday it's important the Bobcats keep their starting big man.
"I hope that it works out because I was with him a little while and he's a terrific kid," said Brown, who coached Okafor on the 2004 U.S. Olympic team. "He plays a position that's very hard to find. And he's the second pick in the draft. I'm sure we'll do what's right. Hopefully he'll be here."
Okafor turned down a contract offer from Charlotte last summer worth more than $12 million a year. The second overall pick in the 2004 draft then averaged 13.8 points and 10.7 rebounds while playing all 82 games last season.