KIRO radio just reported that Bubba Bennett has released a press release that (big surprise!) he's moving the team to Oklahoma. This, of course, comes on the heels of the other big announcement today that there is a group of local businessmen who want to buy the team.
Read the entire press release here.
More updates as the day goes on . . .
Man, every move that Clay Bennett has made is so transparent to anyone who is paying attention. Stern, you should be ashamed of yourself supporting a money grubbing, callous businessman like Clay Bennett. Fans are not naive and we know that professional sports is a business but good owners also get involved because they love the city and they love the sport. Let's just hope that the state legal system is also not so corrupt that they can be swayed by the empty legal arguements that Bennett has been espousing.
Signed - not a member yet
uhhhh, why should Stern be ashamed? he's the commissioner of the NBA to help the team owners and league make money. and the city of Seattle and has shown that they, by and large, don't care about NBA basketball. so why would you want to continue to operate a franchise where no one cares about your product?
The full text of the release is here:
Gotta say, even though we knew this was coming, it's a bit hard to take. The ball is in two courts right now, though, the local government and David Stern.
Hey, 2nd anonymous, go back to Oklahoma, sit around a while longer, and wait your turn to get a team that actually needs to leave it's location, like... oh... I don't know, the Hornets or the Grizz.
You realize by stealing a 40 year franchise you dilute the trust of fans around the nation for all pro sports, and set yourself up ABSOLUTELY to get your team stolen from you the second you have 5-10 years of mediocrity-- which is exactly what happened here.
Howard Schultz bought the franchise in 2001 for 200 million, sold it 5 years later for 350 million, took massive tax breaks due to "operational loss" during the years between and tells us that the NBA is not functionable in Seattle.
You are kidding me! This is ridiculous. And a rich man with transparent maneuverings from day 1 is the last person whose word I take when he says the team cannot turn a profit in Seattle. 150 million dollars of appreciation-- equity-- in 6 years tells me otherwise.
Sell the team to the local ownership group that came forward, and wait your own fukkin' turn for a team in a dying market or an expansion team.
You maybe anonymous, Anonymous #2, but there's no mistaking where you're from.
The FANS in Seattle deserve a team, the city of Seattle doesn't. Bennett is an Oklahoman.. he laid it out 15 months ago.. he shot straight. He's only doing what he said he would do. Blame your leaders.
Bubba did NOT shoot straight! He flat out LIED since the day his horse came into town. He said he would make a good-faith effort to keep the team in Seattle, then turned around and said "Give me the most expensive basketball arena in history or I'm taking your team." That is NOT good-faith, that is sham. People having been trying to make reasonable arena proposals and/or offering to buy him out, and he has turned a deaf ear to all.
In the end, Bennett has proved he is a lying sack of Oklahoma manure and I hope this city makes his life miserable for the next three years.
And another thing--this doesn't just hurt Seattle, it hurts every NBA city in the country. If these scumbags get away with this, every other owner is going to try to blackmail their city to get tax-payers to line their pockets.
damn straight T-dawg and Paul!!! Tell it like it IS!!! clay is a lying scumbag, he should've tried to get an expansion franchise instead of trying to steal a 40yr team! and I dont know whats the deal with stern? he can help sac with their arena but he doesnt want to help us because he doesnt see any support from seattle!? I think there in an underlying factor in all of this.
Somebody should hang a Clay Bennet pinata in front of the Key before every home game. It would be a great hit!
Paul, in my eyes that's just the beginning. It could spell the end of the NBA...
First, corporate subsidies for entertainment is questionable at best, and unethical and immoral in many eyes.
Fans being forced to pay for new arenas, so that they can be priced out of seats in place of luxury boxes. Oh gee, sign me up.
But not just that, the expectation that we can put an inferior product out for 10 years, then at the end of that 10 years (which coincides with our begging for an arena upgrade that was granted) we expect a bigger and better one-- or we will move.
Where is the next move? Oklahoma, you think this is fine and dandy, and the NBA is still the popular kid in school, and you are the new kid that got paid attention for a little while, but.. well.. you are Oklahoma City. If the NBA in its current model can't work in the city of Seattle, how is it going to work in the long term anywhere?
At some point the dilution of product needs to be addressed. At some point, Stern needs to address the fact that the NBA reached it's high water mark 15 years ago, and the receding water is leaving problems that a Seattle move will not fix, it will only allow these issues more room to rear their ugly heads.
Go to hell, Oklahoma City, Bennett, and the NBA. If you leave Seattle, you will doom yourself.
A plague on all your houses!
Well, today is the first day that Billy Clay Bob hasn't straight out lied. Now that everything is completely above board, we can see what is really possible. It's apparent that the NBA created a real mess that Stern may or may not have intended. This entire convulsion may turn out to be just what was necessary to get a new arena and stable local ownership (non-latte variety) in place....
BUT what doesn't compute in all this is how moving the franchise to OKC makes economic sense. While all sports owners including Clay Billy Bob cry about cash flow losses when they happen, they all know the same thing: their investment is a capital investment. It's the value of the franchise that makes them rich, not cash flow. The kleptomaniac Okies stand to lose a very large part of their initial capital investment the moment the moving vans head out of Seattle. Many tens of millions, maybe even $100 million, in lost value just in the different market size. The only answer that seems to make sense is that the OKC mafia has enough cash between them that they don't mind flushing $100 million down the drain if they can sit courtside (or in luxury boxes) at Ford Center. Expensive seats, but maybe they are that rich. That also explains why Billy Bob Clay says there is no alternative. There isn't for them. They bought seats to see NBA basketball in OKC. That's what they intend to get...
Regarding glennpdx's point, I agree. Bennett's actions seem to be based more on pride and ego than on economics.
As far as Stern is concerned, how much power does he actually have? I'm sure he would prefer to have the Sonics stay in Seattle at this point, as it really would open the floodgates to all the other owners blackmailing their teams with the threat of relocation. Still, it's not like Bennett is doing anything illegal (well, except for breaking the arena lease).
I wonder where the other owners in the League stand on this? I would think they would be all for it, as it would only strengthen their respective positions...
From what I understand, Bennett has to receive permission from the NBA in order to move. Now, I'm not sure if that means Stern's approval alone, or if the owners have to ratify the decision, but it is absolutely true that Bennett cannot just move the team without prior approval. I read this elsewhere, but this situation could very well turn into an Al Davis v the NFL situation; that is, if Bennett wants to move and the NBA won't let him.
it'll make the lawyers, happy, at least.
One difference in Al Davis' case-- he took a franchise he had always owned from the AFL and moved it-- to a top 5 market.
Then moved it back to it's original home.
Bennett bought the team and within the year is trying to move it to a smaller market.
Davis' history of ownership (and winning), in my eyes at least, gives him a level of leeway a douche from OK City should not get.
I need to stop now, before I rant further on Bennett's complete lack of character and the negative connotations I see when paralleling his duplicity with his religious zealotry. I hate hypocrisy, and he reeks of it. I hope there is a gay bathroom incident or some meth male masseuse time in his near future. He deserves no less than the embarrassment that would cause.
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