The former owner of the Seattle SuperSonics plans to sue the current owners to get the team back, arguing they breached a condition of the sale to make a "good-faith effort" to keep Seattle's oldest pro sports franchise from leaving town, according to Seattle-area media reports.
Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz, who sold the Sonics to an Oklahoma City-based group led by Clay Bennett, will not seek monetary damages, but wants the team back, according to his attorney, Richard Yarmuth.
"It's not money damage. It's to have the team returned," Yarmuth said, according to The Seattle Times. "The theory of the suit is that when the team was sold, the Basketball Club of Seattle, our team here, relied on promises made by Clay Bennett and his ownership that they desired to keep the team in Seattle and intended to make a good-faith effort to accomplish that."
The team's ownership group has sought NBA approval to move the team to Oklahoma City for next season. The city has taken the team to court to enforce its lease at Key Arena, which runs through September 2010.
The lawsuit, expected to be filed in the next two weeks, comes after the city obtained and made public e-mails among members of the current Sonics ownership group, in which they are seen privately discussing a move to Oklahoma City at the same time they were publicly pledging to continue "good-faith" efforts to remain in Seattle.
With those e-mails seeing light last week, Schultz could very well have a case. Either way, keep your fingers crossed for the city of Seattle.
This whole thing has sucked from the beginning. The biggest mistake was entertaining the idea of selling to out of town ownership and then actually going through with it. The emails tell the story though. I especially like how Aubrey McClendon blurted out that it was the ownership's intention to move the team anyways and Clay-Clay (local sports radio reference) denied it completely.
I believe that the team won't leave at this point. My only thing is I wonder how the ego-maniac of the NBA, David Stern, feels about being lied to. I can't see him being all too happy about that.
Chuck Norris drives an ice cream truck covered in human skulls.
Originally posted by Mr. BoffoWait, so how did those e-mails come up? Did they reply all and not realize who they got sent to?
The City of Seattle and the OKC Boyz are going to court, and they were part of the discovery process. Howard Schultz isn't the avenue for the Sonics to stay - this court case is because the OKC Boyz are trying to payoff the lease like they bought a car and want to pay off the term of the loan early, and the City is trying to force them to hold to the terms of the lease which would force them to stay until the lease expires after the 2010 season.
I still remain utterly convinced that they aren't leaving and that an arena will get built and that that was David Stern's plan all along.
Holy fuck shit motherfucker shit. Read comics. Fuck shit shit fuck shit I sold out when I did my job. Fuck fuck fuck shit fuck. Sorry had to do it....
Revenge of the Sith = one thumb up from me. Fuck shit. I want to tittie fuck your ass. -- The Guinness. to Cerebus
It's total madness that it has even gotten to this point. Seattle is the 14th largest market and loves it's NBA team. There is no hockey or real NCAA team that threatens this love. It's got a huge Asian population which the NBA wants to tap into. I know there are a lot of ways you can point fingers, but really this is just an absurd move. It just seems like a horrible business decision.
Originally posted by Rush4Life My only thing is I wonder how the ego-maniac of the NBA, David Stern, feels about being lied to. I can't see him being all too happy about that.
Stern and Clay Bennett are best buddies, which is why Stern has been inexplicably all for this daft business move. If Bennett wanted a basketball team for OKC, why couldn't Stern have arranged for him to buy the Grizzlies? Memphis doesn't want them.
“How is it that I am a good actor? What I do is I... pretend to be the person I’m portraying. You’re confused. Case in point: in Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson comes to me and says ‘I would like you to be Gandalf the Wizard,’ and I said ‘You are aware that I am not really a wizard?’ and Peter Jackson said ‘I would like you to use your acting skills to portray a wizard for the duration of the show.’ So I said ‘Okay’ and then I said to myself ‘Mmm.. How do I do that?’ And this is what I did: I imagined that I was a wizard, and then I pretended, and acted, in that way on the stage. How did I know what to say? The words were written down for me in a script. How did I know where to stand? People told me where to stand." -- Sir Ian McKellen, Extras
I don't even see why OKC is bothering with the Sonics at his point.OKC is a nice place to have a franchise, IMO, but this has nothing but bad pub written all over it for the longest time. I know I wouldn't want to Bennett and his BS. Besides, even though they're having a really good year, the NO Hornets aren't selling out enough in their minds to justify staying there. And you can't blame them if they decide to move elsewhere, most of the city still isn't recovered enough to support a team.
Originally posted by supersalvadoranI don't even see why OKC is bothering with the Sonics at his point.OKC is a nice place to have a franchise, IMO, but this has nothing but bad pub written all over it for the longest time. I know I wouldn't want to Bennett and his BS. Besides, even though they're having a really good year, the NO Hornets aren't selling out enough in their minds to justify staying there. And you can't blame them if they decide to move elsewhere, most of the city still isn't recovered enough to support a team.
As I understand it from reading the Oklahoman, the OKC fans would actually prefer the Hornets. But the Sonics are the team that Bennett bought, and right now they're railroading all sorts of taxes and subsidies in Oklahoma to encourage the team's relocation.
With Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, and another high draft pick almost guarenteed to the team this year, there's no way that Bennett will sell. These are the players he wants to bring home, because they have a strong young core that will positively explode when the owners actually decide to spend money on the team. Right now, the best case scenario seems to be that Bennett keeps the team he paid for with a new name, and Seattle gets a relocated Memphis team under the Sonics name. I'd be shocked if Durant remains in Seattle under any circumstanes.
Originally posted by BigDaddyLocoIt's total madness that it has even gotten to this point. Seattle is the 14th largest market and loves it's NBA team. There is no hockey or real NCAA team that threatens this love. It's got a huge Asian population which the NBA wants to tap into. I know there are a lot of ways you can point fingers, but really this is just an absurd move. It just seems like a horrible business decision.
The Sonics need a new arena, and have been pushing for one for 4 years. They just got KeyArena 10 years ago, but the economics of the NBA changed after the Key's opening and it quickly became a money-loser for the team. However, Seattle just built new stadiums for the Mariners and Seahawks, and are still paying off taxes on the Key. The public is very chilly to the idea of building a new Sonics stadium, and is outright against the idea of spending $500 million to build a new arena in Renton (a city just south of Seattle) while the owners put zero funding of their own into the project. Even the previous ownership only offered to put in $30 million on a $200 million remodel of the Key.
When looking ahead to see how all this falls out, remember that the NIT changed their rules this season, so that any conference regular season champion who doesn't make the Dance has a slot in the NIT.