Rick Levin Courtside
A Modest Proposal
. I mean, after all that loud bullshit he pulled on Ruben Patterson, and then goin' off on Coach McMillan after the Phoenix Suns blew the Sonics away ON NATIONAL TV, with Glove throwin' one of his typical cussing fits in the locker room after the game, and then Coach Mac puttin' his size 13 (or whatever it is) foot down and righteously suspending Payton, busting his precious consecutive-games-played game streak (LAH DEE FRIGGIN' DAH!) while at the same time SENDING A MESSAGE, you gotta figure that the end is near, right? You gotta smell a trade comin'. Especially now, with Howard Schultz buyin' the Sonics for, like, 200 mil. I mean, seriously: I read somewhere that the dude took some pretty ballsy risks to open a Starbucks on every damn street corner in America; so bet your bottom dollar that he'll do whatever it takes to make the Supes an awesome team. Like, first off, trading Payton. It's gotta happen! You can smell it, too. Like, check this out: When asked if Payton needed to be traded after he threw that tirade, General Manager Wally Walker said, "Not necessarily." Read between the lines.Seriously, I'm totally serious. Seattle's been dealin' with Payton's prima donna bullshit for long enough. Yeah, he's a great player--but he ain't as great as he once was, is he? You can almost see the steam goin' out of his tires, and you can tell it pisses him off, too. And granted, he's also probably still one of the most exciting players to watch, too. But dude--SO WHAT! HE'S NO LEADER! He's a divider. With all his ultra-competitiveness, his bitchin' and moanin', he totally drags the team down. He's takin' things into his own hands when he should be shovelin' it out, involving his teammates and stuff. Sure, the Sonics didn't look too hot without him versus Minnesota when he sat out--actually, they looked totally lost. So the MESSAGE that was supposed to get SENT got sort of mixed up. And yes, when Payton came back the next game against Sacramento, he had a damn near perfect game. But who knows when he's gonna GO OFF AGAIN??? It's only a matter of time. I mean, look: The guy makes, like, a hundred thousand-plus dollars a game, so what's he got to gripe about?! Hell, give me that kind of money, man, and I'll keep my mouth shut. I don't care how bad the team's playin'.
So, seriously, here's what I think the Sonics should do: Deal Payton to Los Angeles before the February trade deadline, and get a friggin' real point guard like KOBE BRYANT! Now that guy's a BADASS! And then make a totally fat deal, like get a package together with Vinnie Baker and Patrick Ewing and--CHECK THIS OUT!--Ruben Patterson, and swap the whole kit and caboodle for VINCE CARTER! Talk about the NEW-LOOK SONICS! Every game would be as totally AWESOME as an All-Star game! But the Supes gotta move fast on this one. There's no time to get sentimental. You gotta DEAL Payton while he's still got prime value and before he starts earning more bad press. It's time. There's no "forgive and forget" in the NBA. It's about RESULTS! I mean, look at it this way: Sure, it sucks that Jason Kidd hits his wife sometimes, but at least he doesn't screw his team up on the floor like Payton sometimes does. Dude! It's all about FOCUS. It's all about WINNING.
Dude, check it out. The way I look at it, Gary Payton's already pretty much TOAST, right? Gone. Adios. Sigh-oh-