By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Saints Need A Place To Play, But Is San Antonio Truly The Answer?
SAN ANTONIO ï¿½ An NFL team by default. Thatï¿½s what I see when people start talking about the New Orleans Saints playing most of their home games here in the Alamo City. The city isnï¿½t strong enough on a corporate front, doesnï¿½t have the political structure to understand sports business, and doesnï¿½t have knowledgeable fans who would support $50 – $100 tickets eight times during the season but because of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation that the storm has brought to the Crescent City will now give this city the chance to support a team for all the wrong reasons. To me thatï¿½s just not fair. Itï¿½s not right. San Antonio doesnï¿½t deserve this sort of ï¿½blessingï¿½ because if we couldnï¿½t get NFL pres-season games here on a regular basis, why should this city be in a position to try and support a team that is not even ours to begin with? Does anyone see just how wrong this is right now?
Iï¿½m sure this isnï¿½t a popular stance with anyone in San Antonio right now or across the country but this isnï¿½t about being ï¿½rightï¿½ or politically correct because everyone else is doing it. I donï¿½t want to come across this page sounding like everyone else and say, ï¿½What the city needs to do is donate the money to the victims. We need to take a hit for the sake of the citizens of New Orleansï¿½. Thereï¿½s enough talking heads saying that today and will be saying that until things get ï¿½back to normalï¿½. Sometimes you just donï¿½t want to benefit from a tragic situation and this just happens to be one of those situations that fall up under the category, ï¿½Donï¿½t touch because itï¿½s an untouchableï¿½. Yet there are going to be people who say that I am anti-San Antonio, that I donï¿½t have this city in the best interests of showing it can handle an NFL city. Any other time, I would champion such a cause but during this time and at this point of where we are in the real realm of things going on, how can I say, ï¿½sure San Antonio would be perfect for the Saintsï¿½ when I know that in my heart, this may not be the wisest sales tactic to employ right now.
If there is ever anyone who would want to see the Alamo City step into the limelight of big time sports cities, that is me. Do I want to see an NFL team come here? Sure I would but Iï¿½d rather have an expansion team than somebody elseï¿½s from another community. We talk about all of the pillaging and looting that we see on the news in New Orleans but yet here many of San Antonioï¿½s most prominent people wishing that Tom Benson would let his team play in an antiquated Alamodome. Tell me who would be considered the wrong doer here: the person who loots property and food in a deprived city under martial law or a thriving city that is giving shelter to an economic arm of that deprived city? How would it look for San Antonio to give the Saints shelter, harbor and the ability to play their games this season but to then turn around and profit from it at ANY opportunity?
Iï¿½m a NFL fan just like so many others in this town but I have got to be realistic in my assessment. We should be about helping the citizens of New Orleans clean up, build up and store up their broken residences and businesses. We need to reach out to those who truly have not at this time. If the mayor and city leaders were truly humanitarians, then they would do what they could to make sure that every dollar spent in the Alamodome would not only help the community here but also help that water logged community on I-10.
If the Saints do make this their home, I hope San Antonio helps them for all the right reasons and not for the selfish reasons that I have heard by so many who are desperate for a franchise in this city. We should be facilitators of the helping hand, not the pillager of a broken heart.
FINLEY SIGNS, SO NOW WHAT IS NEXT FOR THE SILVER AND BLACK On Wednesday night I had done a Miami sports talk radio show and told the show host that I thought Michael Finley was headed to Miami-Dade County. No sooner after I have hung up the phone, the news that Michael Finley has decided to sign with the Spurs comes across the AP wires. To say I was flabbergasted is an understatement considering I am rarely at a loss for words. But with the obvious now being a reality, where can the Spurs go from here to ensure a title is won again next spring? Here are some scenarios that I have been pondering around in my own little world and maybe one of them may actually come to fruition: ï¿½ The movement of Brent Barry and/or Rasho Nesterovic. This has been in the local papers this week and I can see where Barry is a commodity but Nesterovic will end up being just another seven footer who is gravy training right now. Who would be interested in both of them is anybodyï¿½s guess. Shooters area always needed but can Rasho actually fit into the plans of letï¿½s say a Phoenix or Memphis? Thatï¿½s a good question. On the flip side, what can the Spurs get back in return that is worthwhile for the time being? Lorenzen Wright maybe?
ï¿½ Trading Devin Brown and Brent Barry for a big is an idea but that might require a sign and trade for Brown. Problem with this scenario is that Brownï¿½s s/t deal would be more than what the market is for him probably. Thatï¿½s not knocking his skills as a ball player but the economics of the game dictate some strange situations sometimes.
ï¿½ Keeping Brown as an insurance policy. This is probably the most realistic approach I could see in the crystal ball. Brown can contribute off the bench when need be and I think if the Spurs really wanted to shore up some areas, it would be at their swing position. Having Finley to fill in where Brown and Barry may not be able to would be the ultimate luxury and come playoff time, Brown could always spell somebody at two or three positions.
These are just some thoughts because as I look at this roster right now, the Spurs are so talent laden itï¿½s scary. But you want to know the ï¿½Bï¿½ side of the record playing right now, what if this team becomes a Portland Trailblazer team of old? Maybe no one remembers what those teams looked like but what they were during that time of Rick Adelman at the helm were teams that were so deep in talent with the likes of a Steve Smith, J.R. Rider, Bonzi Wells, and Damon Stoudamire that on paper, they should not have been beat. On the court, everybody ran them over. When you look at the Spurs roster, that is what you see on paper, a team that should be winning 70 games next season.
Yet as it stands, with their current mix of players, the Spurs have just become one of the most formidable teams in the 21st century and it wasnï¿½t too long ago that no free agent wanted to come to the Alamo City. With the acquisitions of Nick Van Exel and Finley added to a group that includes Robert Horry, Barry, and Nazr Muhammad, and a nucleus that consists of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, it is easy to see why the Spurs and their fans now have the pleasant headache of entertaining rumors, championship dreams and realistic repeat champion possibilities. Finley may have been the icing on the black cake with silver icing.