Friday, April 18

Press Conference Recaps

There will be much more discussion of today’s events to come, but allow me to give a few bits of my opinion, based on the pieces of the press conference I was able to watch.

1. David Stern tried very hard to play the role of Regretful Leader before the press, but his animosity towards the Northwest is very evident. His description of Slade Gorton’s efforts to keep the team in Seattle as a “scorched earth policy” was illustrative of how he views the proceedings. At another point, he described his interpretation of the way the pro-Sonic faction in Seattle acted towards himself as “We’re gonna kill you” if you try and take our team.

2. Stern also wound himself up to avoid answering Chris Daniels’ questions regarding the emails. Much has been made of Stern’s lack of analysis of these emails, especially in regard to the fact that Clay Bennett was less than forthcoming about his group’s discussions of the team relocating to Oklahoma City. In a previous press conference, Stern claimed he had not studied the emails and was therefore in no position to comment upon them. Daniels pressed Stern today to see if he had managed to find the time to study them yet, but Stern dodged the question, and when Daniels attempted to redirect him towards an answer, Stern angrily cut him off, commenting, “Live or not, I am not going to be interrupted. I did not interrupt you when you were speaking. Let us proceed to another question.” Considering the vital nature of those emails, it is disappointing that Stern would hide behind petty rules of etiquette to avoid answering the question.

3. Stern also would not rule out a return to Seattle at some future date (“I never say never”), but indicated it would be unlikely given the current situation.

4. The meatiest part of the conference was, obviously, Clay Bennett’s attempt to clear up any “misunderstanding” of the emails he exchanged with partners Tom Ward and Aubrey McClendon in April of 2007. In those emails, as you all know, Bennett stated, and I quote:

"I am a man possessed! Will do everything we can. Thanks for hanging with me boys, the game is getting started."

This was written in response to Ward’s email, in which he wrote:

“Is there any way to move here [Oklahoma City] for next season [2007-08] or are we doomed to have another lame duck season in Seattle?”

Incredibly, Bennett said the intent of his email was completely opposite of what the press and the public interpreted it to be. “That exchange took place after the bill died in committee,” Bennett said, referring to the failed proposal in Olympia for a new arena in Renton. “When I said I was a man possessed, I meant I was a man possessed to get this done in Seattle.”

Obviously, Bennett’s comments defy logic, especially when you consider the response Ward wrote to Clay after his “man possessed” statement. To wit:

“That’s the spirit!! I am willing to help any way I can to watch ball here next year [emphasis added].”

So, apparently, not only were the public and the press “misinformed,” but Bennett’s partners as well, as they obviously interpreted his claim of doing anything he could to mean doing anything he could to get the team in Oklahoma City.

5. Even more curious, Bennett admitted that, “Aubrey and Tom wanted a team to be in Oklahoma City all along, but that it was not to be the Sonics.” He went on to say that, “They were behind me every step of the way.”

Huh? I know, it sidesteps any pretense of logic. Why would Ward and McClendon be interested in giving their money to buy a team they could never watch? If they really wanted a team in Oklahoma City, why would they “be behind [Clay] every step of the way” as he tried to keep the team in Seattle?

There was much, much more to get from the press conference, but I honestly couldn’t watch the entire conference due to work constraints. I’ll leave it to the reporters on the scene to fill in the blanks.


Anonymous said...

Another poll is up regarding this whole situation:

"Question7) Do you believe Clay Bennett was ever open to keeping the franchise in Seattle?"

85.4% - NO!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I've been wondering...

What if we had a huge earthquake and New Orleans didn't have the hurricane. Would we still have our team and the Hornets would be moving to OKC.

Anonymous said...

was gonna post this on sonicscentral before the comments were stopped:

i agree with most of you, its either these sonics or no team at all. let oklahoma have the expansion squad.

i also agree on a boycott for next season, but the message that the fans still care should be clear as well. how about this: instead of buying tickets to watch the game inside the arena, everyone just gathered at another site and watched on tv? like maybe bring in a drive-in movie theater screen and set it up in the seattle center for everyone to watch outside? im not from seattle and ive only been there once so i dont know how much sense that makes. the a's are going to do something kinda like that with their new stadium

Anonymous said...

akdan - interesting take. I'm sure that NO would be Hornet-less by this point, just because Shinn would never lose an opportunity to make an extra $1 or 2.

But, hey, it's not over yet by a long shot. Keep the faith, Sonic fans!

pg said...

There was nothing that any of us could have done...and there's nothing that any of us can do.

We were sold down the river right from the start--and every supposedly dramatic twist and turn of that river couldn't possibly have mattered less, because our fate had long been sealed.

Had we given Bennett his half-billion dollar pleasure palace, there STILL would have been some reason why it wasn't good enough and this team would have STILL been Oklahoma bound.

So, if the team plays games here next doesn't matter if we go to the games...or if we boycott them.

This was never about us. This was never about the fans. This franchise (let's not kid ourselves by calling it a team at this point) was never ours.

Anything that happens from now on will just be spun the way that everything is confirm already entrenched positions.

If we are nice and polite--then we didn't care enough about our team to demand that we stay, so that justifies the move. If we're angry and if we protest--then we're contributing a toxic atmosphere, so that justifies the move.

And just like anyone who has ever been dumped, it takes awhile to accept the painful truth...and to realize that "you can't argue someone back into being in love with you."

I think we all need to curl up with as many pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream that it takes until we're ready to get back out there and try to find someone else who might value what we have to offer...someone who can return our love properly.

And let the NBA debase itself, sleeping with the skanky hoes known as the Bennett Bandits.

We deserve better. But, as was said in the movie "Unforgiven", "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it..."

Anonymous said...

In a different scenario, I would agree with you, pg. But in this case, I don't. In fact, were it not for the trial coming in June, I think I would agree with you 100%.

However, with the trial looming, and the likelihood of Seattle winning the trial sounding pretty good, that means we've got two more years of the Sonics in Seattle. That means two years of people putting plans together, two years of Clay Bennett losing money hand over fist (because if you thought attendance was bad this year, you ain't seen nothing yet). Add it up, and it seems to me like there's a damn good chance that Sonic fans have contributed towards keeping their team.

There are still many roads to travel down, but it seems to me that we're on the right path right now.

Anonymous said...

While I am truly sorry to see the Sonics leaving Seattle, I am happy for this city to finally be moving into the big leagues. I agree with the previous post, if no Katrina the Hornets would be here already. I apologize to the fans of Seattle for some of the crude remarks put forth on this site. Great writers.
I may be wrong but Howard Schultz held there team out there for some time with no local takers. Agreed, how could you sell the team to a bunch of Okies and not expect the team to eventually be moved. I am sure attendance as well as public sentiment will be horrendous, but I think these guys expected as much. Ticket sales are only a small percentage of revenues.
The majority of the Oklahoma City populace are fine upstanding, quality people. We are sorry for Seattle but proud some of our locals are trying to improve our fine city. The team was held out for anyone that wanted to pay the price and someone bit.

Gabe said...

anyone else into getting more exposure via NYTimes?

go to the link on the right and EMAIL this article...

if we can get into the top 10 articles, our exposure will explode.

Anonymous said...

Acquiring a major sports team doesn't automatically put a city in the "big leagues." I guess, technically it's a major league city, but I don't think having pro sports team heightens a city's rank in the sphere of cities. Look at it this way: NY, SF, Miami, and New Orleans would all be well known cities w/o their teams. I think its a problem wheras people and more importantly politicians equate a big league team with relevancy. It's not to say that OKC and Green Bay shouldn't have teams, or that they can't be a little bit helpful, it's just that it's not the be-all end-all it's often made out to be.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Tom, but your argument has holes in it. While it's true that this is a free country and people are open to do as they wish, and it is true that Clay Bennett owns the Seattle Sonics, he bought the team with the condition that he put forth a "good faith" effort to keep the team in Seattle.

In light of the recent emails, the fact the only stadium proposal he put forth cost $500 million (none of which he would contribute), and the fact his partners have been itching to move the team from the outset, and I think there is a clear case to be made that he is in violation of the contract. The courts will decide one aspect of this situation in June, but the Schultz argument will drag it on even further.

In other words, don't put any money down just yet on OKC Sonic tickets.

As to the other stuff, let's call a truce. How about we refrain from jokes about Oklahoma so long as you refrain from dancing on our team's grave while the ground is still soft?

pg said...

Hey OKCTom,

I don't think that any Sonics fan would have any problem with OKC having "a" team...and we'd certainly understand the enthusiasm that you might have over getting "a" team.

The problem is that you're not getting "a" team--you're getting a team that we thought was ours...a team that we couldn't imagine could be taken away.

Realize that this isn't a case where the team is being taken away "without a fight"--there's a hell of a fight going on, but none of there's no point to the fight...

We'll all be bitter about this, pretty much, forever. If you think that eventually we'll get over it, I'd like you to witness what happens to Alex Rodriguez when he comes to Safeco--Seattle fans don't really "get over" much of anything.

And, to quote Darth Vader, "don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed." By that I mean, having an NBA franchise doesn't really mean that OKC has "moved into the big leagues." (See also Columbus/NHL, Green Bay/NFL, Sacramento & Charlotte & Utah/NBA)

...just as losing an NBA franchise doesn't mean that Seattle no longer is... (See also Los Angeles/NFL, Las Vegas/Every Sports League)

And, as far as Howard Schultz not finding any local buyers--if I've read correctly, his own partners didn't want to sell the team...he kind of did so out of an rather infantile moment of pique.

Basically, it was a case of a boy used to getting what he wants deciding to take his ball and go home...or, rather, to set a scenario in motion where his ball couldn't go home again.

And he sold it to another boy used to getting what he wants...and, for the moment, y'all are givin' it to him. Best of luck with that.

pg said...

...and, obviously, great minds tend to think alike.

Didn't mean to pile on, Tom.

But, know that even in our intense bitterness, we appreciate someone willing to be civil in a discussion filled with such hotblooded emotions.

(Still, it doesn't mean that each of us here wouldn't give Clay Bennett a hard kick in the balls if we were given the opportunity.)

Anonymous said...

"I AM NOT GOING TO BE INTERRUPTED! I may not mind being lied to by the Three Stooges of the Internet (that's Clay, Aubrey, and Tom, not you guys at supersonicsoul), but I sure as hell won't be cut off by some reporter trying to point that out to me. NEXT QUESTION!"

Wonder if he thinks that'll work on the witness stand.

Unknown said...

Since the Board of Governor's vote this mornings, I'm already starting to hate it when people assume the Sonics are gone. As I write this the Seattle Times, after a number of segments about how this vote really doesn't mean much at all both on their own site and on ESPN, are asking Sonics fans "How will you say goodbye to the Sonics?"

I even just got an e-mail that said "boo hoo..." from my Mom and my Dad bitterly writing: "got to hand it to Bennett, he really had the cards lined up, including the state of OK handing him millions in tax incentives, etc. Problem here in Wash. is that we have too much going on that is fun and good---and that diluted the impact of the Sonics. OK has dust storms, flat terrain and Sooners. yawn."

But no. Not boo hoo. This isn't over yet, not by a longshot. I've done about as much research as anyone who's not one of the attorneys or one of the great leaders of SOS and if I had to bet, here's what I expect to happen, for everyone who continues to believe Stern, Bennett, and their fellow greedy pricks have won:

1. The city wins the lease case (there are many reasons why the City and Slade Gorton will win the case, both because of clauses in Bennett's contracts with the city AND with Schultz. I can imagine almost no way in which the lease will be broken unless Nickels accepts a buyout. Which he just stated today he will not under any circumstances.) and stays here until 2010.

2. In that time, newly-elected Governor Rossi will team up with Nickels and the Ballmer group, and another Key arena proposal will be proposed, and this time it will pass. The Washington Gov. will have more than enough time to get through Legislature this time, and the city NEEDS a main tenant in Key Arena and an upgrade to keep Seattle Center viable in the first place. Another reason why Gregoire is pathetic for not showing the leadership needed a month ago.

3. Even the NBA will not be able to pass up an arena BETTER than the Ford Center, in the original city with a 41 year history, and with the national media (not just sports media) with their eyes on the NBA now. Think about how much steam this has gathered in the past 2 weeks. Now extend that for 2 years.

4. And/Or, our Senators will then begin to step up (as they just recently entered the game, and sounded serious) and begin "breach of trust" violation investigations (as they wrote) - after all, it seems like it would be clear, if the NBA were still going forward with the move, that Stern's only true purpose for this move is to enable future owners to hold cities hostage for millions as well. And if Congress is willing to talk about steroids and baseball player parties for hours, they may be likely to hold hearings on the multi-billion dollar organization that is the NBA.

5. And/Or Schultz wins his case against Bennett, which seems like a very, very reasonable possibility. He has legal language IN THE CONTRACT ITSELF that 1) says the Sonics must uphold the Key Arena lease through 2010 and 2) must maintain a "good faith best effort" to work to find a feasible arena solution over the next 12 months. This (say lawyers) is and is accompanied with other legal jargon. Schultz's attorneys knew what they were doing when they wrote up the contract. It also says, in the contract, that there is not necessarily a monetary value that can be put forth by Bennett to atone for the breaching of this particular part of the contract. In other words, it DOES leave the door open for a court to rescind the sale.

We are actually in a decent situation here, relatively speaking. Think about how much is lined up against Stern and Bennett. The 5-6 emails are almost certainly not all Gorton has in his bag of tricks, and more and more NBA skeletons will begin appearing right and left in June. Furthermore, the BOG vote explicitly says "pending lease litigation." In other words, when the lease is upheld (again, my strong, strong bet is on Seattle and Slade Gorton) the vote will mean nothing, and the real game will begin.

And as Otto recently commented on, "Burn in Hell Bennett and Stern!"

Anonymous said...

I want this team to stay. My Sonics. I don't a substitute...

BUT there's another scenario I like a lot: Bennett pays Seattle to $75 million to get out of the lease now, and Stern gives us a new team named the Supersonics by 2010. We get an NBA team and rebuilt arena paid in effect one-fourth by Clayton Satan, while those heehaw suckers gave him an area paid out of their ignorant pockets. Serves them right. And wait until the Oklahoma whining and crying starts when Bennett and the NBA shake them down for another arena a few years. Karma kicks your ass, dudes...

Anonymous said...

I can imagine almost no way in which the lease will be broken unless Nickels accepts a buyout. Which he just stated today he will not under any circumstances.

It would be nice if he said "not under any circumstances", but he didn't. Nickels has a price.

Anonymous said...

Hey, just making this official. It's Joshu@ from

I am going to begin organizing a fan union. IT's time to stop getting walked on guys. We need to organize and unite the power of the fans across this nation. It is our dollars, our attention, our devotion that makes the sports world go round. I am going to take on David Stern. We need to step it up. How many of you are going to walk with me?

Anonymous said...

Josh, that's an admirable notion with wonderful intentions, and I hate to rain on anyone's optimism.

But (and you knew that was coming) the idea of organizing a disparate group of people is so unbelievably difficult it's sad. Think how many people in Seattle protested the Sonics leaving in Olympia. In a city of millions, where 16,000+ routinely show up for games, fewer than 1,000 came to Olympia to support the team.

Now try to imagine how difficult it would be to get people in a city like San Antonio - where the team is successful and the arena situation is, for the most part, stable, to go along with it.

However, there is a strong amount of passion involving the Sonics and Seattle right now, and there is plenty for people to do here. Even if you hate the idea of supporting billionaire owners with arenas costing hundreds of millions, the idea of forcing Bennett to pay a wack of money has to be appealing.

I would suggest keeping in touch with the city council, so that they know that a compromise is not an option, that we only want the Sonics, not some ersatz-Sonic team 10 years from now. That, to me, seems to be the most effective use of our anger at this point.

Joshua Bell said...

This has more to do with finally giving fans a voice. Even if the Sonics go. Fans need a voice, and an organization from which to belong. Not to mention there are going to be 3 or 4 franchises more that get hit with something like this when the league does decide to go global. Even if this issue is lost. I am thinking long term 40 or 50 years down the road. There should be nothing stopping us from becoming a force of our own.

Anonymous said...

Could someone, PLEASE, PLEASE ban these trolls! This sight actually was troll free till about three days ago! We need one sight where we don't get these Okies on!

Anonymous said...

A fan union is an idea I'd listen to. If careful research were done and strategy applied it might be able to play some useful role.

Anonymous said...

The S.O.S. website says that the BOG approved relocation "only for next season." If that's the case, then doesn't a court upholding of the lease pretty much cancel out today's vote?

Anonymous said...

God...Sonic's Central is still down. It has been a VERY, VERY shitty day. I have been just paralyzed today by anger and grief over this. I knew they'd approve it and thought I'd be better, but this just feels like a real sucker punch to the gut!

Anonymous said...

Board of Governors look like a weak group. Times are good for many but I question their ability to foresee and
respond to growing issues.

I think the BOG is being driven toward the bog by Stern.

Anonymous said...

SonicsCentral being down is beyond weird. I wish someone would get to the bottom of that... I knew the vote would go that way, and it still hurts. I think it's because we have gut sense that all our time and heart into the team counts for something. It doesn't. That's hard to take.

We're just collateral damage in fights between big economic players. All we can do is cheer for the city and Schultz as they pull out the last bullets and take aim. I'm rooting for the good guys, and that makes me feel a little better...

Anonymous said...

The S.O.S. website says that the BOG approved relocation "only for next season."

I guess they didn't watch the press conference or read any of the reports. Maybe they didn't sleep last night and/or are suffering from delusions. Unreal that they'd report that.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it was a typo. Perhaps they meant "only for next season if the lease is bought out."
But thanks anyway for belittling their considerable efforts, anonymous jerk. No matter what happens from here on out, the S.O.S. folks deserve the eternal thanks of real NBA fans. This team means a hell of a lot more to them than it ever will to Clay Bennett or Oklahoma.

Anonymous said...

NBA approves relocation ... sort of.

The NBA owners today gave Clay Bennett permission to move the Sonics to Oklahoma City today but only for this upcoming season and only if they can get the city to settle the lawsuit. The Mayor held a press conference today and made it clear that no cash settlement would be considered and that the city will take all action required to hold the team to the lease. It is now time for David Stern to put his bruised ego and hurt feelings aside and step up and show some leadership by negotiating a deal that gets OKC an NBA team so the Sonics can remain in Seattle.


Anonymous said...

Here's some free advice to Seattle from Sam Smith. It's offered in friendly spirits, but he'll forgive us if we don't take it as such:

Sonics Man said...

Indeed a sad day but we will regroup and move forward, it is not over until they are gone!!

Anonymous said...

Ok Well I've cooled off a little bit and here is my thought process.

It has been mentioned before, but I think this outcome has just a good a chance of happening as any.

Bennett and NBA buyout Key Arena lease for $75mm and get to move the team to OKC this year. The city uses that $75mm in addition to Ballmer plan to renovate Key Arena and are guaranteed an expansion team in 2010, or whenever Key Arena remodel is complete.

The more you look at it and read between the lines, this makes the most sense for everyone. Both sides have the ability to give the other party something that they want.

Why it makes sense for Bennett:

1) He gets to move the team next year and not go to trial. In addition, paying $75mm now is very close to the loses he would accrue over 2 years in Seattle. By paying $75mm now and moving to OKC, he would be in a better position financially in two years than he would be if he stayed here.

Why it makes sense for the NBA:

1) They save face BIG TIME in the PR department, and they do not run the risk of having to turn over all of their financial documents. In addition, they receive the benefit of a $350 - $400mm expansion team fee.

Why it makes sense for Seattle (some will disagree):

1) Receive an additional $75mm, and do not have to workwith/rely on funds from the State. Ballmer plan all along was not exclusive of this team. They stated that they did not want to see Key Arena go without a tenant. I do not believe they are overly concerned with whether it is Kevin Durant or the next young phenom.

Evidence from reading between the lines as to why I believe this is possible:

When emotions have cooled a bit, go back and read Stern and Bennett's comments as objectively as possible. Look for opportunities where they could either say "expansion is 100% not an option" or "Key Arena remodel WILL NEVER WORK". Stern avoids that type of response FIVE TIMES, all while saying his door is open for communication the entire time. His whole message is a plea to try to communicate or open up the lines of communication.

In addition, the last thing Stern states is that he would like to make as many people happy as possible in this situation. In the situation above, everyone compromises a little bit, but NO ONE gets royally screwed.

Does anyone think that Bennett would really turn down a $75mm buyout that would allow the team to move now and avoid trial? NO WAY IN HELL. Pretty basic net present value analysis would show that 2 years of $30mm plus losses in Seattle plus $2 years of potential profits in Seattle would be far greater and way less messier than forking out $75mm today.

Does anyone really think that Seattle could turn down a $75mm check and a guaranteed expansion team that guarantees that Seattle Center will remain economically viable for years to come? I believe that is the end goal in all of the cities negotiations, to have SOME team here.

Does anyone believe that the NBA would give up the opportunity to save face from a PR standpoint, make Clay Bennett happy, make Seattle happy, have 2 brand new arenas, and receive $400mm in proceeds from an expansion team?

Stern and the NBA do not want to leave Seattle, he just can not publicly say that because that would be turning his back on one of his own who has represented him well for the last 15 years.

Everyone involved knows that if the NBA leaves and goes any period of time without a guarantee that they are returning, it is worthless to try to come back because too many bridges will be burned. If they left for two years and we knew all along that a franchise would come, I think it would be more than possible for most of us to eventually get back on the wagon.

None of these are bad consolation prizes. They make everyone happy and cooler heads would prevail. Who could honestly complain about that? We could still have a statue of SOS outside the KEY to know that our efforts didn't fall on deaf ears.

Yes I want this team too, but I would like to be able to look back in five years and have something to show for it and share a bond with all you passionate Sonics fans knowing that we fought and we got something out of all our struggles, more than just our hearts ripped out. I'd be curious to know how Cleveland Browns / Charlotte Bobcats fans feel a couple years after they got a new team.

If I am the Mayor I read Stern's press conference and offer this to him. All sides would be crazy not to listen. Get Bennett, Ballmer, Nickels, and Stern in one room and hammer this out!

Sorry for the long post, but this is therapeutic for me.

Anonymous said...

This completely sucks about On the one day where we could use a bit of hope or grieve together as a group.

Talk about when it rains it pours right now.

Sonics Man said...

Kyle, your theory is pretty damn good actually, my only questions is the $75 mill for the buyout has to go to pay the current debt on KeyArena so it not available to use for a remodel. If the team leaves now the city has to use the money as makeup for the two years of revenues it will lose.

Anonymous said...

We have got to hound Gregoire on this issue wherever she goes! Wherever her campaign goes, SOS needs to be there. Whether it be Republic, Newport, Centralia or Bellingham, she needs to know this issue won't go away! It needs to be just like her campaign kick off when the SOS nation took over the event! So far she has shown ZERO leadership and she needs to not only pay at the voting booth but in the interim. We need to keep the pressure high on our local leaders! Wished SonicsCentral was up.....just seems cruel that the biggest day in the franchise history and they're out!

Online ZenDoc said...

Boy, how long has been down? I know that they "froze" it (stopped the comments) about 1:30PM yesterday now, but the site was online for hours after that, but when I just checked about 12:45 AM or so, it was down again. I've lost track, but I think that's 6 times in 5 days now. I was hoping that when they had to freeze the site to do some maintenance for a couple or a few hours that there wouldn't be any more site crashes, but it's crashed again. I hope they can get it back this time.

I think the whole Sonics thing is just getting interesting. I can't wait for the trial! Did anyone here record the double-overtime win over Denver 2 Sundays ago where KD hit the 2 3's to tie it in regulation and the first overtime? I wimped out on the game that day, and, unfortunately didn't record it either except for the last three minutes. I would love to have the whole game to watch it over (and over) again. If you recorded it please let me know. I can trade for the Dallas game if you don't have that one recorded. Please let me know if you have it or if you know someone who does. Thanks.
- ZenDoc Dave

Anonymous said...

Sonicsman, I hear you. But wasn't part of the $300mm allocated to retire the existing debt?

Either way, you would think that the finances are close enough to make thing work.

I have no idea what Bennett would profit in OKC, but let's say it is $10m a season.

($30mm in losses in Seattle X 2) + ($10m in OKC profits he stands to lose by not being in OKC X 2) = roughly $80mm in future cash flows, discounted to a PV I would think would be roughly $75mm. Therefore, assuming Bennett plans to turn ANY profit, I think the minimum number he can come to the table with is around $75mm (this doesn't take into effec that he could write off the operating losses, I am not sure if he could wiggle his way into a tax write-off for settling with the city) and that does not include the benefit of not being exposed in court, which right now is worth A LOT.

Who knows, maybe you can get the government to give tax breaks on the new construction (which would work out to $20-$30mm) and that could go towards the retirement of the existing bonds.

Just stepping back it is clear that both sides have the ability to accommodate the other. I have to think that if you have a two day meeting with Bennett, Stern, Ballmer, Griffin, Nickels, Gregoire, and Schultz, you could walk out of that meeting with everyone having to give a little but everyone feeling satisfied.

In the grand scheme of things, eve if they all spent a solid week brainstorming and hammering this out, that would be 1/100 of the work, effort, uneasiness, bitterness, and resentment that lies ahead if they don't get together.

Basically, the NBA said the ball is the the city's court to respond.

Honestly, I think Stern is a prick, but if you were in his situation considering his past relationship with Bennett, what else could you do? They basically said in the press conference that we are prepared to bleed for two years if we have to, because really we have no other option, but we would love to negotiate with the city to come to a resolution.

Anonymous said...


Now we've got Ron Sims and Pete von Reichenbauer lobbying Nickels to talk with the league and let the team go, so Seattle might have a shot at some other team down the road.

Anonymous said...

i say keep battling to keep a seattle nba future, w/sonics identity at the core.

but remember -- this scenario has occurred in other cities, as well. study those before you reinvent the wheel.

but david stern and his crook cronies notwithstanding, i quote a great american, senator john blutarsky:

OVER? Nothing is over until WE say it is!!

Anonymous said...

Sonics Central seems to be closed for comments at the moment, so I am posting this over here.

Instead of letting the press conference get me all down and depressed, I decided to poke fun at it. I posted this on You Tube just last night. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

If Bennett and co are willing to take the losses then there is nothing that can be done. I am of the opinion that they should take a $70M buyout, keep the name and history with the promise of a new team if there is an improved facility.

Anonymous said...

NO WAY! This is not just about Seattle guys. No negative precedents should be set. Hold firm, don't rollover.(Joshu@ from

Anonymous said...

so correct me if im wrong - so the sonics will go to Oklahoma for this season, and pending the court case, we find out where the future is for the sonics?

Unknown said...

I want nothing more to do with the NBA unless the current team stays. I am in favor of staying the course.

I am not in favor of stealing another city's team or getting an expansion team in 5 - 10 years.

I do not wish to negotiate with terrorists, or criminals, or liars. :)

Anonymous said...

Re: the lease battle-- We should DEFINITELY keep fighting and NOT ACCEPT a buyout or settlement-- unless that settlement keeps the current team here!
If we fight and keep them here for two more years, we put extreme pressure on Bennett to sell (and as a bonus piss off Stern).
But if they do in fact leave, how long does anyone think this market will go without a team?? Sure we won't get an expansion team, but some team will want to move here when they get the chance- OR some local guys will get together and buy a team with the clear intent to move it here. The NBA would NOT stop that move... It might take a few years, but that's what we're talking about with getting an expansion team anyway.
Of course, my first wish is that Shultz does indeed sue and then wins the team back.

Anonymous said...

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