Sports

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E-mails Reveal Intentions of Sonics’ Owners

April 12, 2008 12:15 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
E-mails between owners of the Seattle SuperSonics show they intended to move the team to Oklahoma City as far back as April 2007, which would violate their good-faith agreement to try to keep the team in Seattle.

30-Second Summary

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In e-mails obtained by Seattle officials, Sonics majority owner Clay Bennett says that the Sonics owners are doing “everything we can” to make the move after the 2007-08 season.

The news comes as little surprise to Sonics fans, who 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.

Bennett began negotiations with the city of Seattle to build a new, taxpayer-funded arena. He maintained that he was committed to keeping the Sonics in Seattle and would leave for Oklahoma City only if negotiations fell through. He set a deadline of October 31, 2007 for approval of a new arena.

In August 2007, co-owner Aubrey McClendon was quoted as saying, “we didn’t buy the team to keep it in Seattle.” Bennett claimed at the time that the other owners did not share this opinion. Now, with the release of the e-mails, it appears that McClendon was speaking truthfully and in line with the other owners.

Some Seattle officials hope the e-mails will be enough to prove that the ownership violated the “good faith” agreement it made with former owner Howard Schultz and the NBA, which could force the Sonics to stay in Seattle at least through 2010.

Schultz is considering filing a lawsuit to reclaim the team, though there is little chance he will be successful.

Headline Link: Seattle officials obtain e-mails

Background: Owners look to relocate

Reactions: Stern defends Bennett and Schultz tries to reclaim team

Opinions & Analysis: Sonics are still doomed

Reference: Save our Sonics

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