|Your account||Today's news index||Weather||Traffic||Movies||Restaurants||Today's events|
Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - Page updated at 12:19 A.M.
By Percy Allen
They carried away black garbage bags, some filled with basketball shoes. Others were stuffed with trinkets and knickknacks collected over the past seven months.
Despite last night's 111-107 defeat to Houston, which was probably a fitting home finale to a season mired with missteps and unfulfilled promises, the Sonics were able to smile as they said goodbye to KeyArena fans and employees.
Aside from their bundles of memorabilia, each one carried a sizeable amount of doubt and uncertainty toward their future.
After the game, co-captain Rashard Lewis stood at center court, addressed the sold-out crowd of 17,072 and thanked them for their unwavering support despite the team's disappointing 36-45 record.
Minutes later, he rummaged through his locker for a few items he wanted to keep. While everyone else had long since departed, Lewis, the Sonic with the longest tenure, quietly wondered if he'd ever see the inside of this room again.
"That's really been on my mind these past couple of days," Lewis said. "I just feel, I have a gut feeling that they are going to try and make some type of move because of the fact this is the same result we had last year. And looking at everybody on the roster, in order for this team to get somebody that they would like, the only people capable of doing that is me and Ray (Allen).
"The main focus is really going to be on me this summer, and if it happens, then so be it. There's nothing I can do about it. ... I'm the only player that's probably going to be on the trading block."
Lewis, who managed just 11 points and six rebounds last night, doesn't plan to ask for any assurances because he doesn't believe that he has the clout with president Wally Walker and general manager Rick Sund to make such demands.
"You can go to them and tell them I want to know what's going on with the trades and I want to know ahead of time before it happens, but I'm back home (in Houston) during the summer, and I'm not getting a lot of information from them."
"It's a different situation because of free agency the decision was pretty much up to me on where I wanted to go," Lewis said. "This summer it's different because I'm under contract and I don't have the option to go where I want to go.
"Right now, I'm in handcuffs. I'm behind bars. If the Sonics want to let me out of jail, they're going to let me out."
Seconds later, Lewis attempted to retract the jail analogy, explaining that the team has complete control over his movements. Still, the reference seemed to indicate that Lewis isn't entirely pleased with his surroundings.
Lewis' sentiment differed from forward Vladimir Radmanovic, who seemed less concerned about his NBA residence and more focused on playing for his national team in the upcoming Athens Olympics.
"I'm sure people already have their minds made up about me," said Radmanovic, who was activated yesterday after spending five games on the injured list. "If I'm here next year, we'll see."
If last night was his final KeyArena appearance, then Radmanovic made it a memorable one. He scored 15 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, which prevented the game from turning into a rout.
Houston dominated from the start, holding Seattle to just one field goal over the first 5:26, and rattled off an 18-3 lead that the Sonics never overcame.
It took Seattle the rest of the first half to draw even, at 50 and 52, but the Rockets never trailed. Houston vigorously defended its basket, whereas Seattle allowed 34 points in the first and 33 in the third.
Seattle trailed 84-64 with 3:12 remaining in the third quarter, but avoided a blowout because of Radmanovic and Ronald Murray, who scored 10 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. Allen added 21 points.
The Sonics pulled as close as two points down on four occasions in the final minute, but Mark Jackson, who turned 39 on April 1, kept them at bay. He scored four of his game-high 25 points at the free-throw line in the final 30 seconds.
Houston, which improved to 45-36, had all five of its starters score in double figures as it wrapped up the seventh seed in the Western Conference. Jim Jackson finished with 22 and Yao Ming had 20.
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company
Home delivery | Contact us | Search archive | Site map | Low-graphic
NWclassifieds | NWsource | Advertising info | The Seattle Times Company
Back to top