Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive
—Sir Walter Scott
The Seattle Times is on top of the story, with Jim Brunner explaining how Clay Bennett, Aubrey McClendon, and Tom Ward were excitedly discussing moving the Seattle Sonics to Oklahoma City last April, six months before the October 30 deadline they had given Seattle for coming up with a new arena.
There is plenty to read in the emails (here and here), but I believe everyone would agree the most telling is a missive from Bennett dated April 17, 2007. Bennett was responding to another email from Tom Ward (you remember Ward, the guy who thought the best way to use $1 million was to spend it fighting gay marriage), wherein Ward asked if there was any way possible to relocate the team prior to the 2007 season. Sayeth Bennett:
"I am a man possessed! Will do everything we can. Thanks for hanging with me boys, the game is getting started."
Remember that phrase "do everything we can," because it gets repeated in an email to David Stern, with a slightly different connotation. Bennett's email to Stern came in August, fresh on the heels of the McClendon gaff about the new ownership group always intending to move the team to Oklahoma City. Sayeth Bennett to Stern:
"The deal for me has NEVER changed; we will do all we can in the one year time frame ... to affect the development of a successor venue to KeyArena."
In addition to lying to Seattle, Bennett lied to Stern, telling him that the ownership group had NEVER discussed moving the team to Oklahoma City, when in fact they did just that in the emails from April of that year, four months prior to Bennett telling Stern they never discussed it.
It makes you wonder, if Stern fined McClendon $250,00 for the quote in the Oklahoma City Record, what sort of fine will he impose upon Bennett for his misleading remarks?
But back to the "all we can" remarks. Remember those coaches that told you in high school that giving 100% isn't enough, that you must give 110%? I always wondered how it was physically possible to give more than all you could, it just seemed idiotic to me.
But I stand corrected, because while Clay Bennett was giving "all he could" to keeping the Sonics in Seattle, he was also doing everything he could to move the team to Oklahoma City.
For two years now, we've been searching for a proper nickname for Clay. There's been Clay-Clay, Gay-Clay, Okie, and so on. None have fit properly, but that changed today. From henceforth, only one nickname will fit for Clay Bennett:
Clay "110%" Bennett.