“Congratulations Mr Payton, on your consortium’s acquisition of Seattle’s basketball franchise,” Howard Schultz, shaking Payton’s hand, announced to all of those in attendance at the press conference, “It is an honour to hand over the rights of this franchise to a past player and legend involved in Seattle basketball.”
Gary Payton then spoke into the microphone, “I am very happy to be a part of bringing the team back to Seattle. When the Sonics were moved to Oklahoma City, everyone knew that I was not happy. I told you all that we would have our team back and I thank Howard for all that he has done to help make my dream, and this city’s dream, come true.”
Payton continued speaking to the audience, “My team has decided that we will not readopt the team colors and logo of the Seattle Supersonics. After all of the incidents that have passed, we believe that it is time to go in a new direction with this franchise. This is a good opportunity for us to make a new identity for ourselves and for this reason; we will change the team logo and team colors before the new season starts in a few weeks.”
The team spokesman then prompted the journalists sitting in front of Payton, “Mr Payton is now able to answer your questions.”
“Woody Hannes, ESPN, Mr Payton; what will happen to the players of the Oklahoma City Thunder? Are you planning on retaining all of the players?”
Payton thought for a moment, “Since the players were originally signed to contracts for this particular franchise, they will all be staying with this team. However, we have decided that we will give all of the players an option to opt out now or change conditions in their contracts if both parties see fit. We have also decided that we will conduct a few workouts with free agents who may be interested in joining our new team.”
“Rebecca Jones, Seattle Times; have you got any ideas on a team name?”
“My team, who will become the team’s Board, have come up with a shortlist of names. We will put it out to the public and gather their feedback before making a final decision.”
“Jackson White, from the PI; there are rumours that you will become the new General Manager of this franchise Mr Payton. Is that true?”
Payton shook his head, “No, I will not be in that role however I will be the new head coach.”
There was a collective gasp as the same reporter asked, “What will become of P.J. Carlesimo?”
“Coach Carlesimo was informed of the Board’s decision this morning and he has been offered a job to stay with Seattle,” Payton replied, “Unfortunately, he had declined. I would like to thank him for his contribution to the team last season.”
“Mr Payton…” one reporter started to ask before Payton joked, “It’s Coach Payton now.”
Most of the people in the room laughed as the reporter smiled and finished his question, “Coach Payton, what do you feel that you can bring to the team?”
Payton was his own confident self as he answered the question, “I’m going to bring discipline, leadership, and a heck of an exciting team to watch. My team will play hard, hustle, and will make sure that other teams have a very tough time scoring against us.”
Will Sit got the call just after midday, whilst having lunch with a friend in sunny California.
He listened intently to the voice on the other end.
“You’re offering me a position?” he asked in a surprised tone then hesitantly added, “Yes, I’m free for an interview.”
He was on the phone for a while longer before hanging up. Sit said to Vince Thompson, “Well, it looks like I need to get a flight out of here to Seattle pronto.”
* * *
Gary Payton was dressed in a nice suit, sitting on a panel of Board members interviewing Sit.
“I’m a huge fan of yours Mr Payton,” Sit told him.
Payton didn’t show any emotion but he was thinking, suck up, and continued with the interview, “Why do you want this job?”
Sit laughed, “You guys want me. You guys rang me and I’m just here because it’s been a while since I managed a team. Let’s skip ahead to talk about the contract because let’s face it – you guys are just happy I’m the only one who actually came to do an interview.”
The Board members all looked at each other before one of the older ones asked Sit, “What can you offer us then?”
Sit thought for a moment, “What do you expect of me? What do you want from me?”
Payton shot back, “We want this team to contend. I want to work with a team that can play with all the values I put in place. I need you to build that team for me.”
“I promise you that I will have a roster capable of making the playoffs in three seasons. No more but no less.”
“That’s a big promise,” one of the other members on the panel stated, “Are you sure you can deliver?”
“I never back out on a promise,” Sit winked.
“Congratulations,” Gary Payton said, “You’ve got the job.”
Sit stood up and shook all the members’ hands before receiving a copy of his contract. He had a look at it before signing it.
It was only a day after signing his new contract that Sit had to begin work at his new job. Sit and Payton had to interview each and every player of the Seattle squad. Their job was to explain to them the new and unique situation in which their team was in and how the players were going to be offered new contracts. The last interview was with Kevin Durant.
“So you’re going to waive all of the old conditions on my contract and I’m going to sign for one year?” Durant asked, with his agent sitting next to him.
Sit nodded, “That’s the plan. We think it’s best for both parties.”
Durant talked to his agent before saying, “I don’t know if this is a wise move.”
“Kevin, you are young and talented. If you are scared that we wouldn’t sign you to a new contract next season, I am sure that other teams will,” Sit reassured him, “Don’t worry because we want you in this team’s future. We are only doing one year contracts for everyone right now so that both parties are in a flexible position.”
Durant’s agent cleared his throat, “My client will sign the one year deal.”
Sit smiled as he and Payton both rose out of their seats. Durant and his agent did the same and all four of them shook hands with each other.
“Nice doing business with you,” Sit said.
* * *
Seattle had two weeks to prepare for the NBA season. The first week was used to finalize the playing roster and organize other administration issues. Sit had been to Key Arena to check on the court being redone despite not knowing what the colors the team would adopt. He didn’t even know what the name of the team would be. He arrived at the team’s practice facility as the players were finishing another hard training session.
“Run harder!” Payton yelled at his players, “Come on, I could beat all of you right now! Put more effort into it!”
The Glove was a brutal coach and Sit knew it, This is why he is one of the best! He had no doubt that Payton would make a decent coach. As the players finished their sprints, they hit the showers. Payton saw Sit on the sideline and walked up to him.
“How are you doing?” Payton was in a joyful mood.
“Good training session?” Sit asked.
Payton nodded, “These boys better be ready for the first game. We’re on a tight schedule but they are all young and should be able to adapt quickly.”
“I just came by to tell you to have the team ready tomorrow for media day,” Sit told Payton, “After that, the team will meet the fans outside Key Arena.”
Suddenly, Payton pouted, “I thought that was going to be in a few days.”
“Well, I pushed it forward,” Sit boldly stated, “You could use your energy to focus on getting the team ready instead of worrying about other things.”
Payton wasn’t happy, “Are you saying I can’t do my job?”
“Look,” Sit began, “I just think you need to understand that you can’t do everything. Your job is to coach and my job is to manage. Let’s keep that line straight ok?”
Payton threw his towel on the ground, “No, you are saying that I am not competent. You think I’m not smart enough for this job!”
Sit looked annoyed, “I didn’t say anything like that. Perhaps you should go see a shrink if you’re feeling a little bit insecure.”
Payton cursed at Sit and then threatened him, “Don’t forget that although you are the GM, I still own part of this team. I am higher than you and I can get you fired.”
Payton turned around and stormed off the practice court. Sit shook his head, I don’t have time to deal with temper tantrums.
Kevin Durant and his teammates were shuttled across town all morning and they were finally outside Key Arena in front of their adoring fans. People of all ages were there to greet their team; many of them were dressed in Sonics’ gear. Sit was in front of the team speaking into the microphone.
“Seattle fans! We are proud to announce the new name of your team!”
The crowd cheered and had to be waited upon to quiet down.
“Please make welcome… your Seattle Stealth!”
The crowd didn’t roar with approval as Sit would have wanted. There were even a few boos and that was because he knew that ‘Sonics’ was the popular choice for the team name. However he thought to himself, At least this shows that the fans have heart. Now it’s time for the Stealth to capture them and feed off their passion and get back to the upper echelon of the NBA!
Last edited by Sit
on Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.