Continuing Sonics thoughts

Good thoughts and speculation from David Locke via KJR on Ray Allen and Nate:

SONICS MANGEMENT STEPS UP.Obviously it is an incredible day to be a Sonics fan. After much consternation and concern the Sonics management stepped up. Here is how it all came down.
• In early February the Sonics made a final offer to Ray Allen that was around $75 million dollars. It was about their third final offer. Lon Babby the agent of Ray Allen thought they were close and asked for a little up to $80 million at which point the Sonice never responded.
• The two sides talked again before the July 1 free agency but nothing came about.
• Therefore, Allen went out on the market. By Saturday Allen told the Sonics he had two offers and possibly a third that was in the range of $80 million.
• The NBA has a rule that allows a team to call another team and find out what they are offering. The rule is in place so that teams don’t have to totally rely on agents and what might be untruths from agents. Teams don’t have to tell, but it customary that they do. Therefore on Sunday the Sonics used their contacts to find out that the offers were legit.
• On Monday they called Lon Babby, Ray Allen’s agent and decided to end the process. Concerned that those two or three teams could actually push the price higher they came with a $80 million offer that could reach $85 with high end incentives and the deal was done.
• Ray Allen agreeded to a 5 year deal. It is really a sign of good management on both sides. The Sonics front office which was often been the victim of great ridicule deserves tremendous credit for how they handled this negotiation. True to their word Allen was their #1 priority and they answered the bell.
This signing keeps the Sonics in the elite of the NBA. Allen is one of the truly special players in the NBA and he will carry this team to wins. It gives this team an identity to build around. The deal is a good deal. It allows the Sonics to still get done all of the other things they anticipated in the off-season. They should be able to match whatever offer comes in for Vlady. They should be able to sign a solid back-up to Luke, they should be able to make a choice between Reggie Evans or Jerome James or another front court player that is on the market. The concern on the deal is how will Allen perform when he is 33 and 34 years old on the backside of this deal. History indisputably says that he will slide and struggle. If anyone can beat this in Reggie-Miller fashion, Allen would be the one, so who knows. Instead, the Sonics have positioned themselves so that as Allen ages, Ridnour, Collison, Lewis and Vlady all move into their prime and should be able to cover his weakening. It is an incredibly bright future for the Sonics.
FIRE UP !!! This is really a great day and a huge relief. The Sonics answered the bell. Allen wanted to stay. He has his team and that is what he wanted. Seattle has a superstar that they can embrace and is worthy of being embraced. The Soncis should be near the top of the West for the next half decade.
I would expect that Nate will be in the fold in the near future. As of 2:00 today (7/5) the Sonics had not talked with Nate since he returned from his weekend in New York. Portland is putting on the full court press and Paul Allen is at the forefront of that full court press. Allen is telling Nate that he will be his man, that they will together take the Blazers to great heights. I wonder what Mike Holmgren would tell him about how that really plays out?Bottom line on the Nate end is that the Sonics have done everything to make it a palatable return for Nate. They have offered very good money. They have re-signed the superstar that is at the core of the franchise. When I have talked with Nate he was very concerned about where the franchise was headed, would they step up, did they have a plan. Those questions have been answered now it is time for Nate to carry the Sonics to new heights as a head coach.
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