Sports

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Elaine Thompson/AP
Seattle SuperSonics owner Clay Bennett, center, during the city's trial against the team.

Seattle Says Oklahoma Is OK for Sonics

July 03, 2008 01:45 PM
by Josh Katz
After months of acrimony, the owners of the SuperSonics reached a last-minute deal with the city of Seattle to move the team to Oklahoma City.

30-Second Summary

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A federal judge was scheduled to rule on Wednesday about an agreement involving KeyArena’s lease, but the sides reached a settlement first, making the case moot.

“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,” according to The Washington Post.

NBA commissioner David Stern left the possibility open for a new franchise to come to Seattle in the near future. If Seattle were to get another team, the name, logo and colors of the SuperSonics are still available as per the agreement.

Clay Bennett bought the team from Starbucks’ chairman Howard Schultz in July 2006. Many have suspected since Bennett bought the team in July 2006 that the Oklahoma City–based businessman never intended to keep the team in Seattle. With the team playing in the aging KeyArena and a larger, modern arena waiting in Oklahoma City, it was clear that moving was an option.

Schultz has filed a pending lawsuit to take the team back, saying Bennett did not negotiate in “good faith.” E-mails in which Bennett admitted he’d wanted to move the team all along would seem to back up Schultz’ assertion.

The effects of the lawsuit could change the details of the agreement forged yesterday.

Headline Link: The team is going to Oklahoma

Background: From the ownership change to the recent agreement

Opinion & Analysis: A sad moment for basketball

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