Wednesday, April 23

Schultz!

Former (and future?) Seattle Sonics owner Howard SchultzFrom page seven of the lawsuit filed by Howard Schultz in U.S. District Court yesterday:
In an email written by Clay Bennett just two days before the sale, Mr. Bennett confided to his co-owners that he was comfortable with the Purchase Agreement’s good faith provision because, in the event a Seattle arena deal could be negotiated, the Oklahoma City group could simply sell the team in a “sweet flip,” and leave Seattle, and the Oklahoma City group “would still be in good shape for something in OKC.
Unbelievable. Again, unbelievable.

How about we take a turn at playing “Guess David Stern’s Reaction!”.

1 – “The commissioner does not comment upon ongoing legal proceedings.”
2 – “I have not studied the emails, so I can not comment on them.”
3 – “Crap.”

Personally, I have always believed, and Stern mentioned this at one point if I am not mistaken, that the league was hopeful that an out-of-town owner would be more likely to persuade the city and/or state to cough up some money for KeyArena, inasmuch as out-of-town ownership holds a heavier sword over the neck of the local politicos than local ownership. Therefore, Bennett’s Oklahoma City ties would likely work in the league’s favor by prompting the local government to give in under threat of relocation.

But that’s where the plan went sideways. As Schultz’ lawsuit alleges, it appears that Bennett and his group had no plan at any time to keep the team here. It is entirely possible that Bennett not only defrauded Schultz, but Stern as well. As much as I despise Stern – and that’s a great, big bundle of despise – I do not believe he would be happier with a team in Oklahoma City than Seattle. While he would be willing to accept the relocation in the light of keeping the extortion threat alive for other teams in other cities, in a perfect world he would rather the team stayed in the larger city. It’s just common sense.

However, perhaps Stern was fooled by Bennett. We’ve already witnessed how owners such as Larry Miller in Utah were completely unaware of the situation in Seattle, and how their only information came from Bennett’s mouth. Well, perhaps Stern was acting similarly. We already know he’s a pompous and arrogant man who despises this city and its politicians. Is it that much of a stretch to think that he just disregarded everything coming from the Seattle media and websites such as SonicsCentral and relied on the information Bennett was providing to him?

If so, at what point does Stern cut his losses with these Okies? How many more emails need to be unveiled? How close to his deposition date, when he will be confronted on these emails? He’s not going to be able to cut off the prosecutor with the same petty reasoning he did at the press conference last Friday, he will have to answer questions he doesn’t want to answer.

I don’t know the answer to those questions, but Clay Bennett may be having some very interesting conversations with the NBA’s offices in New York in the next few weeks.

It’s about damned time.

11 comments:

Bryan said...

"I haven't studied to document, as I've been busy spending relatively brief personal time with various business partners." or something like that.

NBAFan said...

He'll say:

"Well, I have not actually read the e-mails in question, but I have my head so far up Clay's ass that I am very confident that his intention from the very beginning was to "help" the fans of Seattle by buying the team, getting a new arena for them, and then selling them back to a local owner. Because, Clay is just that kind of guy, willing to help out wherever he can."

Well either way, Stern's reaction should be priceless. We'll all just have to wait and see. I'd love to know what those 2 are REALLY saying to each other behind closed doors right now...

Tom in Seattle said...

This news certainly seems to make Howard Schultz's lawsuit more winnable. It also makes the idea of compromising with Bennett and the NBA and letting the team move to OKC in exchange for some sort of new team deal even less appealing. Even if it means losing the NBA in Seattle the idea of caving in to a bunch of lying billionairs makes me sick. I hope we fight this to the end.

Anonymous said...

"I think I just shat myself...."

pg said...

Stern won't be fazed by this latest proof of Bennett's true intentions. He's got a great post-season going on and nobody's listening to the cries of the wounded Seattle faithful.

On top of that, I think he's actually convinced that he WOULD rather have OKC than Seattle at this point...he's circled the wagons around that position and we're reduced to ineffectively stomping our feet in frustration.

Sad as it might be to accept, but I don't think this changes anything.

We've been dumped...and maybe we should all go to Hawaii and try to Forget Stern's Machinations.

J.L. White said...

I would expect David Stern do something, anything to quell all this backlash against him (and, oh yeah, prevent the Sonics from being stolen from Seattle, too). Of course, I thought by now that President Bush would have finally gotten our troops out of Iraq by now, seeing as though it has been many, MANY years since our presence has been at least a little helpful. I think both Stern and Bush are cut from the same cloth, however; they're too stubborn and prideful to give in (or "cut and run", as some people like to mindlessly blather) even in the face of overwhelming logic. Stern will keep pushing and pushing to get the Sonics into OKC (and willfully ignoring every "unfaithful" email Clay Bennett has sent) until the matter is closed. No matter what happens, Stern will spin the results as a victory for himself and the NBA, and I'm sure he has a trick or two up his sleeve as these lawsuits go forward (he isn't the TOTAL dunce Bush is). Maybe Stern is plotting some kind of "Plan B" to get Bennett to sell the Sonics back to local buyers before the trial gets too embarrassing, but I don't expect Stern to come out and say anything that would even hint of surrender. Remember, we're all the poor, unwashed plebeians in his eyes, and for him to lower himself to our level by admitting a mistake is.....impossible.

Anonymous said...

There is an interesting parallel where we were lied to about weapons of mass destruction and thousands of innocent people have died. But millions pf people will go rightback and vote for that same party.

Bennett is a proven liar and sheister but the (bible belt)people of OKC look up to him as a hero.

The human race is going down the toilet...

Dork1013 said...

For the Bush/Stern comments. David Stern donates exclusively to Democrats. Siding with Lawyers and wanting to spend taxpayers money on whatever he wants. I don't believe those cloths get cut that way. Just one mans opinion as it yours.

SAVE OUR SONICS

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