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Old 07-05-2008, 10:21 AM   #23
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Default Re: It's Official - Sonics Moving to OKC

Originally Posted by SteelCityMan786 View Post
The only real reason they even moved there is because of the fact that Clay Bennett is from Oklahoma City. I think it's pathetic. The NBA should not have allowed the move. Though I believe if they are as well taken as OK City took in the Hornets for the few games they had there, it will work.
Clay Bennet is a villain in all of this for sure. He and his other owners had continually lied about their intent to try to keep the Sonics in Seattle when they purchased it. E-mails and interviews have shown that Bennet has no integrity when it comes to the truth. Bennet made a proposal for a half billion dollar arena that the tax payers would pay for and he would get most of the revenue from. That was his good faith effort to keep the team. But it was naive for people to think that the OK owners weren't going to try to move the team.

Howard Schultz (the guy who brought you Starbucks and used to own the Sonics) is also a big villain because he sold the Sonics to out of town ownership. He had wanted a new arean and revenue sharing deal for years but the state and local government had no interest. We had paid for a refurb to the Key Arena in the 90s (along with a new football and baseball stadium) and people didn't want to spend more taxpayer money on the Key when we have roads that need to be built and bridges that will fall over or sink in a big eathquake. So Schultz decided that the only way to mobilize the taxpayers to build a new arena would be to sell to out of town owners who could move the team. Bad idea. Now, after Bennet made no effort to keep the team. Schultz's local image is damaged. Schultz is now sueing Bennet for breach of contract, saying he violated the stipulation of the sale that demanded Bennet make a good fath effort to keep the team in Seattle. Should be interesting to see what happens with that. There is plenty of evidence from Bennet's emails and the other owners that they never intended to stay in Seattle. So there is a good chance that Schultz could win some money from Bennet in such a suit. But Schultz doesn't want money, he wants the team back. While that could happen in theory, such a verdict would be unprecedented in American law.

Commisioner David Stern is another person to blame. He has been a total lap dog for Bennett. Stern orginally said in the mid 90s that the Key Arena was one of the best venues in the league. Then, when the Scultz was grumbling about his revenue contract (that Stern approved back in the 90s), Stern started saying the the Key Arena needed to be remodeled again for the NBA to stay. Then, a year later, when Bennett bought the team, Stern reversed himself and said that the Key Arena could not be remodeled and work for the NBA; and totally new arena would need to be built per Bennett's specifications. Stern and Bennett have a bit of a Brokeback relationship. Some of the emails that have come out between them are really funny. When Bennett's ownership group got caught saying that they never had any intentio of keeping the team in Seattle, Bennett wrote this long love letter to Stern extolling how much he respected Stern and how he was Bennett's "favortite person in the world" and that he was worried that teh owner's getting caught in a lie was going to hurt their relationship. It didn't obviously.

The localk and state govenment also are to blame as well. It turns out that, once the departure of the team was immmenant, the city government did come up with a plan to throw 75 million at a Key arena refurb and was asking the State for 75 million more. A local group lead by Steve Ballmer (head of Microsoft) would have spent whatever else it took redo the Key if they could buy the Sonics. Had this effort been made 3 years ago or earlier, Schultz never would have sold the team ot out of towners and we would still have an NBA team.

Lots of blame to go around. Bennett and Stern sure end up looking the sleaziest though.
A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man. - Jebediah Springfield
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