There are two opposing views on the best path for Seattle to take in the dispute between the city and the Sonics. Both have valid arguments, but I think that, to an objective viewer, there is only one real option.
Option one is the one proposed by Mayor Greg Nickels. Essentially, it is to litigate the situation to buy time for the city to come up with an adequate (to the NBA) arena. Considering his bag already contains $150 million from Steve Ballmer & Co. and $75 million from his own city, he is 75% of the way there already. While it is difficult to find ways to come up with $75 million in a time span of one month, it is not difficult to find ways to obtain that much money in the time span of two years. Is $300 million the true cost of the arena redevelopment? Of course not, these estimates are always far short of reality, but that is not the point. The $120 million for the Ford Center redesign is a pie-in-the-sky figure as well, as is the money being trotted out for the new arena in Orlando. The key element to this option is the availability of funding, not only for the arena, but for the team itself.
Option two is the one proposed by Ron Sims, Pete von Reichbauer, and the NBA. Essentially, it entails the city engaging in settlement talks with Clay Bennett for the remaining two years of the lease. In this situation, the city would lose the team, receive somewhere in the ballpark of $50 million, and then hope that David Stern can convince another owner in another city to extort that city's taxpayers.
In other words, we would pull a Bennett.
Let's be honest, another expansion team is extremely unlikely at this point, as David Stern himself has stated on numerous occasions. If the city were to surrender the Sonics to Bennett, the only way for we as fans to obtain a new team would be to pull the same garbage on another city which Oklahoma City is currently pulling on us (and, yes, OKC, your hands are absolutely bloody in this mess; Clay Bennett may have ordered the hit, but you carried it out).
So, we have two options: first, hold our ground and wait for Bennett to cave, or, second, cave in and hope that we can screw over another city.
In the meantime, option one costs the city $75 million in exchange for a completely refurbished KeyArena. Option two nets the city something in the neighborhood of $50 million, an improvement of $125 million, but costs us $150 million in lost income from the Group of Four.
I'm sorry, but I can't see how anyone could go for option two.
Unless, of course, you happened to be a man possessed.