This is something I've been hesitating to say for the past few months, but thought I might as well get it off my chest before I dismiss it entirely:
If the City and/or State decides to be pro-active and build a new arena for the Sonics, and Clay Bennett remains the team's owner, would I be happy with the result?
On the one hand, my favorite team stays in Seattle, and I'm not forced to watch Kevin Durant play in the Western Conference All-Star game as a member of the Oklahoma City Sonics and all the history (Gus Williams, Downtown, Shawn Kemp, GP, JJ, Lenny, et al) stays associated with Seattle.
On the other hand, Clay Bennett and his group benefit tremendously, and their investment of $350 million gets handsomely rewarded. As wonderful as it would feel to be able to watch the Sonics in InsertCorporateSponsorHere Gardens, would that be countered by the feeling of bitterness towards Bennett for the way he blackmailed the city to getting what he wanted?
As a parent, I routinely tread this tightrope: Do you reward your child's bad behavior by giving them something, just so they'll stop crying/fighting/throwing dangerous objects? Or do you stand your ground, force them to their room, and endure 15-20 minutes of screaming? It's a difficult decision to make, and I try to go with the right one (the go to the room option) as often as I can, telling myself that I'm paying 15 minutes of screaming now for in return for future calm.
I see a strong parallel in the two situations. Bennett, like a four year old, is whining and pouting because he can't get what he wants. He's hoping that said pouting will result in getting the treat (a new arena) he wanted, but are we not equally culpable if we give him this treat?
Honestly, I don't know the answer. In a perfect world, Bennett would throw up his hands later this year, sell the team to local ownership, and a consortium of municipal, state, and private parties would work together to build a suitable arena for the team. In that world, David Stern rides in on a white horse to save the day by brokering a deal to give peace to the Northwest.
But that may not happen, and we could be faced with the first option, wherein we get to keep our team, but in the process reward the man who threatened to take it away. You've got to ask yourself: Is it worth it?