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Breaking News: RIP Seattle Sonics

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  • Breaking News: RIP Seattle Sonics

    SuperSonics, Seattle reach last-minute settlement;_yl...v=ap&type=lgns

    SEATTLE (AP)—The SuperSonics will move to Oklahoma City for the 2008-09 season as part of a settlement with the city of Seattle, ending a contentious relationship that resulted in a trial in which the judge was due to issue her ruling Wednesday.

    The settlement calls for Sonics owner Clay Bennett and the Professional Basketball Club LLC to pay up to $75 million to the city in exchange for the immediate termination of the KeyArena lease between the NBA team and the city.

    The team’s name and colors will be staying in Seattle.

    “We made it,” Bennett said after stepping to an Oklahoma City podium featuring the NBA logo and the letters OKC. “The NBA will be in Oklahoma City next season.”

    Bennett said the move would start Thursday and the first focus would be on the SuperSonics’ players.

    Bennett announced that the settlement calls for a payment of $45 million immediately, and would include another $30 million paid to Seattle in 2013 if the state Legislature in Washington authorizes at least $75 million in public funding to renovate KeyArena by the end of 2009 and Seattle doesn’t obtain an NBA franchise of its own within the next five years.

    “We understand that city, county, and state officials are currently discussing a plan to substantially rebuild KeyArena for the sum of $300 million,” NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement. “If this funding were authorized, we believe KeyArena could properly be renovated into a facility that meets NBA standards relating to revenue generation, fan amenities, team facilities, and the like.”

    Bennett said he and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels signed a binding agreement Wednesday, which would be formalized later, that keeps the SuperSonics’ name, logo and colors available if Seattle gets a replacement franchise.

    “We have 30 million reasons why we have support for a future NBA team,” Seattle city attorney Tom Carr said.

    In April, the NBA Board of Governors approved Bennett’s application to move the team to Oklahoma City, pending the outcome of the trial between the team and the city. The settlement came six days after the trial concluded.

    It doesn’t cover a pending lawsuit filed by Starbucks Corp. chairman Howard Schultz, who is seeking to regain control of the team he sold to Bennett in 2006 for $350 million. Schultz claims that Bennett didn’t follow through on an agreement to negotiate in good faith for a new arena in Seattle for one full year before seeking relocation options.

    The trial was centered on the lease agreement between the city and the team that called for the Sonics to play at KeyArena through the 2009-10 season.

    Sonics lead attorney Brad Keller contended that Bennett should simply be able to write a check to satisfy the final two years of the lease. Keller argued that the “specific performance” clause the city rested its case on should not apply in a garden-variety dispute between tenant and landlord.

    Bennett and his ownership group previously offered to pay the city $26.5 million in February to buy out the final two years of the lease. They were rebuffed.

    AP Sports Writer Jeff Latzke in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.

  • #2
    A Shot to the Gut of Seattle Fans

    It's official. The City of Seattle has settled its case with the Seattle Supersonics.

    The Sonics have been released from their lease, and will be on their way Oklahoma City, in exchange for $45 million in immediate payments to the city. In addition, $30 million more will be paid by the Sonics owners in five years if KeyArena is renovated, and the NBA does not have another team approved for Seattle.

    The NBA was part of the negotiations, and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels said in a press conference that the League has agreed that a renovated KeyArena could be a good home for NBA basketball, and that the League is prepared to work with Steve Ballmer and other local owners who are ready to purchase a team if one becomes available.

    There could be more legal wrangling to come. Howard Schultz was apparently not part of the settlement. But, by and large, most Seattle fans who have e-mailed me feel this is the end of the line, until the Grizzlies or some other team can save the day.

    The name of the Sonics, and the team's logo and history will stay in Seattle, according to the mayor.

    I have heard from many Sonic fans, and they are mourning. (Look at this.) The struggle is over -- which does make things simpler. But, for Seattle fans, much worse.

    Seattle fans are speaking in terms that are normally used to describe death. Wakes have been planned. I just had an instant message from someone who said there were tears on his keyboard.

    Whether nor not you feel like that about it, this is one of the darkest days in Seattle sports history.

    Any sports fan can feel for those guys, right? I mean, even if you live in Oklahoma City, and are dying to get your own NBA team, you have to tip your cap at least a little to the Sonic fans, who did nothing wrong here.


    Not exactly.

    Not if you're Berry Tramel, rabble-rousing columnist of the Oklahoman (a paper owned by Clay Bennett's in-laws). Tramel urges Oklahomans to enjoy the Sonics without the slightest shred of guilt.

    Don't let anyone spoil your celebration. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty.

    Because here's what major-league ball teams do.

    They move. Always have, always will.

    Of the 122 major-league franchises in the four historic team sports, 40 have relocated, a total of 52 times. And if you discount the 24 expansion teams that have sprouted since 1992, it's 38 relocations in 98 franchises.

    There is no divine right to keeping a franchise. A team is not intellectual property, no matter how attached a populace grows. Sports are big business. They've always been big business, in this century and the previous century and even the century before that. ...

    If the NFL can leave Greater Los Angeles, where's the calamity in the NBA leaving Seattle?

    The Seattle crowd likes to warn Oklahoma City that if Clay Bennett can put the screws to Seattle, he will do the same thing to his hometown.

    Maybe. Maybe not. Frankly, I'm not all that interested in a history lesson from a city that built a new palace for the Seahawks and a new palace for the Mariners and then wants to start lecturing other cities, warning them about the dangers of giving into disgruntled franchise owners.

    I think that's just muddy thinking. It was always a mistake to see this as a city vs. city thing.

    As if the people of Oklahoma City or the people of Seattle have some issues with each other.

    That's not it at all.

    It was never, in my mind, an Oklahoma City vs. Seattle thing.

    It's an owner vs. fans thing.

    Sports operate in a bizarre realm. The fans, who are the paying customers, provide the revenue, passion, and love that make any league worthwhile. But those same fans who are such an essential part of the franchise have no legal standing at all. They have no signed agreements. The team has no obligation to them at all.

    So fans are, legally, vulnerable. And although everyone acknowledges they are central to the enterprise, they can be trampled by owners, who pay for the right to do what they would like with a team.

    I'm from the school of thought that says just because you have the tiger by the tail doesn't mean you must yank. I'm for respecting the people involved, even if you can get away with hurting them. That's character.

    Instead we have something that's something like the worst marriage ever, back in the days before women had rights at all. Both partners play key roles, but one can lie, cheat, hit, and all the rest of it, while the other can only be stoic.

    In that dreadfully over-dire analogy (apologies), Tramel is arguing that husbands beat their wives all the time, and there's no need to feel bad about that.

    There is a convincing case to be made that franchises move, and life goes on. But there is not a convincing case to be made that it is not lamentable.

    In most cases, I believe a business is really nothing more than the people who work on behalf of that business. But in the case of a local NBA team, it's more than that. It's also a region's lone outpost for the best of basketball. Anyone who loves the sport is prone to following the NBA.

    That's what the NBA is entrusted with protecting. And that's what the NBA did not, in my estimation, protect in this case.

    It's a testament to the power of the sport that fans who have been scorned by one owner will later embrace another. That's the phenomenon that underpins Tramel's argument. He's right, the earth keeps spinning.

    But that doesn't make it any less reprehensible to mislead the public in a cheap manner to separate a team from its devoted fans, while pledging the opposite. Even if the fans are legally powerless, it is certainly correct to honor their meaningful role and to treat them with dignity.

    Now you have your team, Oklahoma City, enjoy them. Make the best of it. It's not your fault, basketball-loving people of Oklahoma, that your owner and his powerful friends were sneaky.

    But you certainly might think about being a little sympathetic towards the people in Seattle who would be without a team.


    I feel bad for the Seattle fans...I couldn't imagine if the Bulls got moved. I'm just hoping this doesn't happen with the Vikings in the few years which could happen.


    • #3
      Oklahama City Rapists here we come!

      I dunno I thought rapists would be a sweet team name. Forum Moderator

      Siena NFL ATS Record(TBD)
      Down LOSING Units Through Week 16


      • #4
        I'd love it if after they have the Oklahoma City Rapists, that the NJ Nets rename themselves to the Murderers.

        Which leads to the age old question, who do you root for here? The Rapists or the Murderers?
        - Also known as Dan.
        - Also known as the footballclod, where I do my own fantasy football and other football related stuff. ->


        • #5
          The Sonics were dead a long time ago...we all saw this coming.

          I hope we get an NBA franchise in Vegas. Probably won't be the Sonics, but it would be an extremely smart move for the Grizzlies.
          2014-2015 Kentucky Wildcats (38-1)

          Congrats to Wisconsin. Even more congrats to UK haters.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Matt McGuire View Post
            The Sonics were dead a long time ago...we all saw this coming.

            I hope we get an NBA franchise in Vegas. Probably won't be the Sonics, but it would be an extremely smart move for the Grizzlies.
            The NBA doesn't want a franchise in Vegas.


            • #7
              So they won't be using the Soncis logo's, team name, colours etc.

              Just the players?


              • #8
                Originally posted by fivas14 View Post
                The NBA doesn't want a franchise in Vegas.
                How do you know that? It's a great game and would produce tons of ticket sales and be great for sponsorships.
                2014-2015 Kentucky Wildcats (38-1)

                Congrats to Wisconsin. Even more congrats to UK haters.


                • #9
                  I don't get how a team would be better in such a smaller market but who am I to question anything? I still don't get how the hornets couldn't get a new stadium but if u bring in a new team that can't win they would
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                  • #10
                    I heard on ESPN that the rumor is the team name will be The Oklahoma City Thunder, and their colors will be a mix of Red, White & Blue


                    • #11
                      Where did you see that I can't find it anywhere.... P.S. Sounds more like a WNBA team name haha
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                      • #12
                        Surely if they were called "Thunder" they would have appropriate colours.

                        eg, Purple, Yellow and Grey?


                        • #13
                 that has to be the lamest pro sports name of all time.
                          2014-2015 Kentucky Wildcats (38-1)

                          Congrats to Wisconsin. Even more congrats to UK haters.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Matt McGuire View Post
                   that has to be the lamest pro sports name of all time.
                            Living in Northwest Arkansas, I pretty much have to be a fan of this team since it's SO close. So as a fan, please, just name the team The OKC Rapists instead of the OKC Thunder. At least you can be intimidated by rapists, thunder is just a sound.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Matt McGuire View Post
                              How do you know that? It's a great game and would produce tons of ticket sales and be great for sponsorships.
                              David Stern wasn't impressed by the All Star game.

                              Plus with all of the gambling rumors w/ the refs, it willl never hapen.