You simply could not have seen this coming.

Shockingly, the cool billion slapped onto the rosewood by local .000001-percenter Steve Ballmer and former Seattleite Chris Hansen to resurrect the Seattle Sonics failed to win over the country clubbers who run the NBA, or their ethically challenged bag man, David Stern.

They “need more time” to decide whether to screw over Sacramento, or take advantage of a truly unique opportunity: to re-screw defending champion chump Seattle.

Translation: Additional greasing must commence, in both places.

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Given that the ink on the Seattle/King County corporate-welfare pact with Hansen’s little group is long-since-dry, it will be up to individual donors this time to solve the region’s pressing First World problem of lack of access to $150-a-seat, scantily officiated basketball.

A suggestion: Some enterprising local person walking around in a Shawn Kemp jersey might go to a website such as, which normally solicits crowd-sourced funds for actual noble athletic endeavors, and set up a Hansen/Ballmer public-donation site. Cash donors could get premium returns, based on their gift:

• $50 gets you a signed copy of the $35 million contract that once (and likely future) Sonics exec Wally Walker gave to franchise-savior Jim McIlvaine.

• $100 gets you a voice recording of Walker’s and Stern’s subsequent demands for a sweeter public-arena deal to “enhance revenue” to make up for same.

• For $500, Mayor Mike McSchwinn will be dispatched by Hansen and Ballmer to toodle over to your house on his magic electric bike and help you spread steer manure on your roses, or engage in some other servile activity of your choice.

Get on it. He who puckers least puckers last.

More sad states of affairs:

We Kid the Mayor: He proved once again that he’s still a man of the people. Just the wrong ones.

Pausing to Reload: Saw a piece in The Times about state Sen. Pam Roach, R-Anger Management, bringing her own guns to a target-shooting dog/pony show for legislators. It’s basically the official death knell for the movement to keep firearms out of the hands of the unstable.

Contour Lines: President Obama has announced a $100 million federal initiative to “map” the human brain. To get the hang of it, they’ll start with a simple sketch of a roadless area, using volunteers from the House of Representatives.

Poor Lance Armstrong: The disgraced doper cyclist was denied entry
to a master’s swimming event in Texas. Next thing you know, Windows is going to deny him access to Solitaire.

Speaking of That: Nice quote in The New York Times from Liz Mason, registrar for that swimming event, about her initial perusal of the race sign-up sheets: “This poor guy has the same name as Lance Armstrong, the cyclist. Oh, how unfortunate.”

And Finally: Mr. Wrap finds it hard to get worked up about the fact that Seattle’s business and government brain trust can’t muster the forces for a Fourth of July fireworks show. Suggestion: If you really need the high-altitude flash and smoke, drive out to one of the region’s more world-class cities — like Kingston, Tumwater, Tukwila, Carnation, Oak Harbor or Bellingham.

Ron Judd’s column appears each Sunday. Reach him at or 206-464-8280.