When Clay Bennett and his team of investors said last year they were going to make every effort to keep the team in Seattle, I really wanted to believe them. Really.
But something just didn't smell right. Maybe it was Bennett's crooked, shark-like "smile", or the fact that he'd been trying to bring an NBA team to Oklahoma City for years, but he just didn't seem to be telling the truth.
For once, I was right.
In a stunning display of candor, minority owner Aubrey McClendon finally admitted that Bennett and his boys never had any intension of keeping the team in Seattle:
"But we didn't buy the team to keep it in Seattle; we hoped to come here," he said. "We know it's a little more difficult financially here in Oklahoma City, but we think it's great for the community and if we could break even, we'd be thrilled."I guess I should be glad someone in that swarm of vultures finally came clean, but the fact that he did so in such a casual manner really shows the arrogance of this group.
Read the rest in today's Seattle P.I.
They are so proud of their fleece-job, they don't even care if we're on to them anymore. It's a giant, foam middle-finger to the people of Seattle.
I'm not surprised, of course, that the head of an Enron-type energy company might lie, cheat and steal to get whatever he wanted, but it seems like the city of Seattle could have a real argument here:
Is it legal to lie about your intentions before buying a business?
If you bought the Space Needle, let's say, and told the previous owner you would do everything you could to preserve it's place in the city, but later admitted you planned on moving it to China all along, could you be sued by the previous owner?
I'm no lawyer, so I don't know the legality of all of this, but one thing is now crystal clear: these guys are real bastards.
I'd say it's more likely "game over" for Clay Bennett. Unless he comes out in the next two to three days and tries to clarify what his partner said, this is a major PR blow for him. David Stern may not like it, but I can almost guarantee he won't let the team go to OKC after this. The league has enough problems already, and between the lease that runs for 3 more years and this admission from the Bennett group, it would make the NBA look absolutely horrible if they let the Sonics move to OKC.
This is OT, but I'm pretty sure you can get burned at the stake in Oklahoma for crossing your legs like that ... maybe Bennett has a secret longing for the liberal standards of Seattle, after all?
Back on topic, I was over at the PI blog and Washburn suggested there might be a rift in the ownership group. That's pure bunk.
These guys are best buds, and it's become pretty obvious from Bennett's one-track mind -- the only viable plan in his mind is one where the public contributes $300 million and all the profits go into his pocket, rather than a private one where much of the profits go to investors such as the Muckleshoots -- that he had no intention of keeping the team here in the first place.
Since when is the word hoped a statement of intention? Maybe they thought they'd get a shiny new arena in Seattle and hoped that if that didn't happen they could move the team. That would not constitute a lie. This statement was made over a year after the team was purchased, so it might not reflect how McClendon felt when the team was purchased, but how he feels after a year of frustration and inactivity. You can split hairs about how hard the group has tried to get an arena built, but they've tried. There's been nothing said in public to the contrary. He's still saying Seattle has time. Didn't Stern agree that if there was no arena in a year they could move the team? They could have sat back and done a lot less, not said anything this summer to try and wake people up in Seattle and hope the legislators, mayor and governor would forget about the deadline. It's far more than purchasers of other sports teams have done.
Acutually he said "We didnt buy the team to keep it in in seattle." I think that means from the time THEY BOUGHT the team they were planning on moving it! right!? they are lying assholes! we, the people from seattle still have time! and we need to do something! -seattleson
"Remember kids, anonymous=LOSER!"
remember kids, whiner = weiner
get over it
If/When they move to OK City lets just hope they fall on their face. I think they will although it will take a few years.
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