Friday, March 7

Abridged Version

If you ever studied economics or science or anything besides English in college (and I'm saying this as an English minor), you'll recall that feeling when the information you are trying to absorb becomes overwhelming, and your brain begins to reject sentences, paragraphs, or entire books.

So, let this be your Cliffs Notes version of the recent activity surrounding the Sonics, a new ownership group, and the redevelopment of KeyArena.

-Slade Gorton, former Senator, begins looking for groups to buy the Sonics in an effort to thwart the efforts of Clay Bennett to relocate the team to Oklahoma. Gorton is able to interest Steve Ballmer (no introduction needed) and John Stanton (founder of Western Wireless).

FALL 2007
-Ballmer contacts local developer Matt Griffin to get involved in the project as Ballmer doesn't have the time to go through all the details. Griffin in turn contacts Jim Sinegal (founder of Costco) to join the group.
-Gorton takes over the reigns of the city's lawsuit against Bennett & Co.

WINTER 2007-08
-After initially proposing $75 million of their own money towards the redevelopment project (in addition to whatever cash is necessary to buy the team), the group boosts it to $150 million.
-The city of Seattle contacts the legislature that a legitimate group is interested in buying the team and redeveloping KeyArena.
-The city declines an offer of $26 million from Clay Bennett to buy out the remaining two years of his lease at KeyArena.
-Oklahoma City passes an initiative to raise $120 million towards the redevelopment of the Ford Center, the last road block standing in the way of the Sonics moving to their city.

-At a press conference in Seattle, the Mayor, the group of four owners, Gorton, and the council announce their plan to spend $150 million of the owners' money, $75 million from Seattle via admission taxes or leases, and $75 million from the state an extension of state taxes on bars, restaurants and rental cars in King County for a combined total of $300 million towards the redevelopment of KeyArena.
-The Washington State Legislature closes on March 14, 2008. Speaker Frank Chopp, through his mouthpiece, states that it is unlikely this particular piece of legislation will be completed in time for the legislature's closing. It is suspected, however, that Chopp is posturing, and that a special session, called by the governor, may be likely to occur.
-The NBA's relocation committee meets April 17-18 in New York to discuss the possibility of moving the Sonics to Oklahoma. They will, no doubt, take into consideration the state of affairs in Washington, as well as the pending lawsuit involving the team.

JUNE 2008
-The City of Seattle and the NBA will tangle in court over the remaining two years of the lease at KeyArena, and whether the Sonics are obligated to honor those years, or if a simple buy-out is all that is required. It is expected that - should the case reach trial - David Stern, Clay Bennett, and other NBA officials will be subpoenaed.

-In reading the proposed legislation submitted to Olympia, it is difficult to ascertain who will be paying for the (inevitable) cost overruns.
-There is, of course, no guarantee that the owner of the team 10 years from now won't need a revision to the lease, or other, more expensive, improvements. (Lest we forget, Barry Acklerly was the owner when KeyArena was first completed, and no one envisionaged in 1996 that a new ownership group would be begging for a new stadium within a decade of the old one's completion).

(The majority of this information was culled from, the News Tribune, and the Times).


Anonymous said...

URGENT RALLY: Sonics fans gather in Support of Current Legislation at Washington State Legislative Building

Where: Legislative Building, Olympia, WA

When: Saturday, March 8, 10-11am

What: Supporters of the legislation to fund a Key Arena Renovation package proposed by Seattle Mayor Greg Nichols and supported by new potential tean ownership will gather at the steps of the legislative building encouraging members of legislature to pass the proposal during the current legislative session.

Participants are encouraged to wear Sonics logo clothing and all participants will receive a complimentary Save Our Sonics T-Shirt.

Contact: Questions regarding this event or RSVP’s to attend should be forwarded via e-mail to


Please RSVP in this thread and SPREAD THE WORD!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for boiling down the details from the news articles about the way the players and proposal came togehter.

Anonymous said...

Some details neglected in summary:
1. Team is not for sale
2. NBA owners WILL approve, not "if" they approve
3. Seattle is now just postering so they have a chance at a future team. Any more "dickering" with Bennett and current situation is going to hurt future chances.
4. And most importantly: TEAM IS NOT FOR SALE

Anonymous said...

Oh Clay, stop posting under anonymous, will you?

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