No matter your opinion on the ongoing saga between Clay Bennett, David Stern, and the City of Seattle, you cannot disagree with the sentiment that this situation has become much, much more difficult than either of the first two parties anticipated.
Whether you believe Seattle is reaping the fruits of years of ignoring the “problems” with the KeyArena lease, or if you believe Bennett is fully within his rights to pick up and move the Sonics, you must also believe that Clay Bennett – and David Stern right alongside him - is sweating bullets these days.
How can I be so sure? Because people who are convinced they are going to win court cases do not start slinging wild accusations in federal court, that’s why.
Bennett’s lawyers filed motions in Federal District Court on Wednesday, a number of which are sealed at the present time, but the motions in essence question the integrity of the City of Seattle, whether the city truly is revealing the true cost of the remodeling of KeyArena, and whether there is collusion between the proposed ownership group and the city. (You can find the a PDF links here).
Looking at the documents, you can only come to one conclusion – this entire situation is going to give the National Basketball Association a black eye unlike anything it has ever seen. Already, months before the court date, acrimonious charges are being bandied about, by both sides. From the city:
“When the current owners bought the Sonics, the NBA required ... that the new owners make ‘good faith best efforts’ for a year to keep the Sonics in the Seattle area. ... In the midst of the ‘good faith best efforts’ period, the owners deceived the NBA about their actions and true intentions, which from the outset were to move the Sonics to Oklahoma City. As an apparent result of this deception, the NBA began taking the new owners’ side by endorsing their claims about the Lease and KeyArena.”and
“The NBA refuses to produce responsive documents [the city was referring to financial records pertaining to profit and loss] ... The NBA cannot involve itself in the events underlying the litigation and simultaneously refuse to provide necessary discovery.”And on and on. Further, reading Mayor Greg Nickels’ deposition, and the adversarial tone taken by Bennett’s attorney, you can only imagine how the events will proceed in court, when Slade Gorton and his crew get the opportunity to cross-examine Clay Bennett and David Stern.
Nope, Brian Robinson was right all along – the NBA doesn’t want anything to do with a court case, and the city – as well as the rest of us, now – knows it.
Next thing you know Bennet is going to claim there is a vast left wing conspiracy out to get him.
This just keeps getting better and better. They should seriously make this into a movie someday. I've got some great ideas for the cast...
The best part is that Clayvid thought this would be an easy team to "steal". Doesn't look so easy now, does it Clayvid? I mean, come on, I totally disagree with stealing a team, but how stupid are these guys? Why pick a town that has won 2 times before, in the same situation? This had to be one of the worst cities to try to steal a team...
Well, overall it is nice to FINALLY see some of the politicians throwing their weight behind this thing. There is a MASSIVE storm coming, brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Pacific Northwest.
On another note, its great to see other towns getting involved. This move has huge potential ramifications for their teams and cities as well.
I hate to say it, since I'm still a little upset with him, but GOOOO STARBUCKS!!!!
Like the sound of that one.
Too little, too late.
The city of Seattle and the state of Washington did nothing to keep the Sonics in Seattle during the past year. These last gasp efforts are staged for the fans as a diversion from the truth, that the politicians don't care about the Sonics and won't do anything to save them.
The time to save the Sonics was months ago, but the Seattle elite were too pompous to believe that Bennett meant what he said.
The fans are being fooled by these last second diversions put out by the politicians and the former owner to save their political lives and his coffee bean empire.
It is sad for the Sonic fans that the politicians and the big money people didn't step up a long time ago to save the team.
Now its too late.
Actually I think the problem was Bennett DIDN'T mean what he said. But you're right no one believed him. Apparently with good reason. But thanks for another pedantic, self-righteous lecture OKC. You should really go on tour preaching to all the sinners in Cleveland, Baltimore, and L.A. about how they deserved to lose their teams. I'm sure they'll agree with you.
Get lost, choirboy.
hahaha all of you silly people are still obsessed with a team you no longer have.... so sad...funny, but sad
Why is it every time I see someone actually type out "hahaha" I get the feeling that they're not actually amused, but just trying to convince someone else that they are? There are forced laughs, and then there are typed-out laughs. Nice try with the false bravado, b.dummy.
Nice typing style you have, too. Complete sentences aren't your strong suit are they? Your vocabulary could use some work, too. From now on, you shall be known in these circles as Molly Bloom. Yes.
When it comes right down to it, I want THIS team. I do not want for Seattle, in the end, to have an expansion team. Once the vote is taken tomorrow, I hope the legal full court press causes a BIG turnover. Take this fight not only to Clay, but the NBA itself.
SonicsCentral.com is down again for the second time tonight and the 5th time in 4 days. Do you think that there are people out there who don't want people to know what we're talking about? A conspiracy theory would include Clay Bennett, David Stern, and several others ... just a thought. We'll see how long it takes to come back online this time.
I'll post what I just wrote & posted on SC.com right before it went down again:
To Brian Robinson, I think that it's great that you decided to go to New York. I hope you get to talk to a lot of media people and at least some owners while you're there. See if you can enlist the support of some of our local media like Eric Williams from The News Tribune and the King 5 guy (I forget his name, but I saw that he interviewed you for King 5 Sports -was it Chris?) to ask the owners some tough questions before the vote if possible and just make sure that they are informed. If they are relying on David Stern for their info on this, then they are terribly misinformed and they need to know the real story.
I'm sure the public can't go into the BOG meeting, but can you get access to the owners before or after the meeting? If we had more time, we could have mapped out a strategy to find close contacts ("ins") for each of the owners to make sure that we got our message across before the vote and we probably would have been able to turn the vote in our favor. We also need to make certain that we can get a roll call vote of the owners. We need to know the names of the owners voting for and against moving the Sonics out of Seattle, so we know who to thank and who to educate.
The person who needs the most scrutiny and who has to be hounded about this relentlessly until he tells the truth or is exposed to the whole world, is David Stern. I hope there are plenty of reporters there who will not let David Stern off the hook on this. He's a joke, but he's much worse than that. People like Clay Bennett and his merry men couldn't get anywhere without truly corrupt, powerful people like David Stern pulling strings for them and looking the other way as they violate all the rules in the book.
The thing that everyone needs to understand is that David Stern thought that Seattle would be a pushover - he thought that we were weak - a bunch of pacifists who would not fight to keep their team. It would not surprise me if he instructed Clay Bennett on what Clay needed to do to create apathy among the fans by trading the stars and letting popular coaches go and other employees like David Locke, and not granting any interviews to KJR with players or coaches throughout the season - then they planned out their ridiculous plea to the state for $500 Million, which they knew had a snowball's chance in hell of passing, but they wanted to give the appearance of having done everything they could, so they could be the good guys and the Washington State legislature could be the bad guys and then David would give his rubber stamp to the move from his Planning and/or Relocation Committee, and it would be a done deal.
David and his buddy Clay would have gotten what they wanted. But David Stern did not count on us sticking up for our team and calling foul on the whole process. He and Clay also forgot that most people are pretty smart and can see through deception. We have all been witness to Clay Bennett's "bad faith" attempts to alienate the Seattle fan base. I have felt it and seen it for at least a year, and it felt slimey and crappy. And like I was getting kicked in the teeth. The whole world will be watching, and if the owners approve the relocation of the Sonics to Oklahoma City, they will create more problems for themselves than they will be able to deal with. We will not rest until all the corruption is exposed, David Stern is forced to resign, and Clay Bennett and PBC sell the Sonics back to Washington owners. This could get very ugly and very long and drawn out and bitter if the owners are not smart enough to prevent it. We'll know in a few hours. Good luck, Brian. I wish I was there with you today.
Yeah, sonicscentral down yet again... Really weird.
Kudos to Brian and good luck in New York! He's the man!
I love how the folks from OKC think calling us "Seattle elite" is some kind of put-down. Do you even know what elite means, or is it just a buzz word you picked up from Rush Limbaugh?
Seattle, Wake up!!!! I do not know if the Sonics are gone. I do know that Mr. Coffee and the entire political machine sat on their collective asses while this process was consumated. These pols will only act if it is their best interest (protecting their butt) or there is something to be gained. When the dust settles and if the sonice are here or not let's not forget all parties that were unwilling to stand up until it was too late.
paul, funny you bring up stereotypes and the 'rush limbaugh' quip. because, according to you, i'm sure that everyone in Oklahoma is probably a toothless, dumb republican redneck who rides a horse to work everyday.
the bottom line is that Seattle does think that it's 'elite' and better than us dumb Okies. well, fine. you can be elite, but you will be elite without an NBA team.
now excuse me, i've got to go. i need to re-shoe my horse...
-Brad in OKC
Listen Brad, I have gone out of my way to not stereotype people from OKC (sadly, I can't say that for everyone who posts on here), as all three of the writers at Supersonicsoul (me, Pete, and Rafael) grew up in rural Washington, which is as back-woods as anything you have in Oklahoma. 2/3 of our state is mountains and farmland!
BUT . . . if OKC people go out of their way to come to OUR website about the SEATTLE Supersonics for the sole purpose of pissing all over us, what do you expect me to do? Play nice and try not to hurt your feelings, when you're ripping 40 YEARS of history out of our city?
And just to set the record straight once and for all for all the Oklahoma Trolls, the people of this state and the city of Seattle NEVER had a chance to keep the team here, so please stop spreading the lie that "Seattle had it's chance". Bennett had no intention of ever keeping the team here (see emails), which is why he came up with that ridiculous half-BILLION dollar stadium demand and refused to negotiate on it. Scumbaggery at it's worst.
Just know that no matter how the owners vote today, this battle is far from over. We know how to deal with dirtbag, carpet-bagger owners in this town when they try to move our teams (see Seahawks, Mariners). Just ask San Jose and St. Petersburg.
My reference to Seattle elite was regarding the politicians and the big money people. If you fall into those categories then your part of the problem. If not, don't take such offense.
Schultz sold the team because he couldn't get traction with the city or state to build an arena.
Clay Bennett was stupid to think he could succeed where Schultz failed.
There is no money or political will to build a third monument to professional sports in Seattle. That's why this team is going to OKC, and no other reason.
Doesn't look like they entirely got the message, Paul. But at least SOMEONE from OKC acknowledged Clay Bennett's stupidity. It's a start.
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