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Friday, November 2, 2007

The Statement. And the Real Statement.

posted by on November 2 at 12:40 PM

Mayor Nickels just issued this re: Clay Bennett’s announcement:

Seattle and Key Arena have been home to the Sonics and more recently the Storm for 41 years. I believe that tradition should continue. .

I will do everything in my power to enforce our lease and keep the Sonics and Storm where they belong in Seattle through 2010 and beyond.

However, here’s what Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis told me:

First of all, he called Bennett’s October 31st deadline “bullshit,” explaining that there was no legit or legal reason for Bennett to announce this today. And this segues into Ceis’s other reaction to Bennett’s provocative announcement: “This is an attempt to drive attendance down. He wants to make the case in court [next Spring when the city and the Sonics duke it out in federal court over whether the Sonics can break their lease] that this isn’t a good market.”

Ceis adds this: “Well, we’ll use it in court to” to show that Bennett isn’t acting in good faith to keep the Sonics here.

Ceis added that if NBA commissioner David Stern signs off on Bennett’s plans to move to Oklahoma, “it should send a chill down the spine every city that does business with the NBA. If he [Stern] supports [Bennett’s position] it means your contract, your lease with the NBA is meaningless.”

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If the city would just buy the team, we would not have to listen to these silly pissing contests ever again. I mean, to own a sports franchise, you pretty much have to be a spoiled little Napoleon by definition, and every few years the city has to fight with the little prick over a stadium or a tax break or whatever, until they finally leave or we finally wise up and buy the thing.

Seattle's long term goal should be to either run every sports team out of town or own every one of them. You negotiate one last time with them and then it's done.

We also need a MotoGP race track.

Posted by elenchos | November 2, 2007 12:45 PM

seattle the city owning a sports franchise? that would be an outright disaster considering how ineffective this city is when it comes to consensus and managing.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | November 2, 2007 12:47 PM

bye bye, who cares.

Posted by and | November 2, 2007 12:51 PM

@2 is right, and clearly a statement this early in the season is designed to keep people away. No class whatsoever, and Stern will let him get away with it (you can bet on it, and he'd probably let the refs bet on it too).

Posted by left coast | November 2, 2007 12:52 PM

What is the legal argument the ownership group is using to get out of the lease? Lack of profitability is not enough to make a contract voidable.

Posted by California | November 2, 2007 12:53 PM

Uh oh. They're officially on Tim Ceis' shit list. He'll probably have the SPD hunt down Bennett and the rest of the OKC ownership group's housepets and families.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | November 2, 2007 12:58 PM

F*ck who cares?? Didn't one of the players this past week say the the NBA is nearly as faked as professional wrestling? Come on, people are pissing around about losing something that could be as fake as professional wrestling?

To the Sonics: Flights leave SeaTac all the time: Get your asses on one of those flights.

Posted by Just Me | November 2, 2007 12:59 PM
Posted by Sonics B Gone | November 2, 2007 1:06 PM

Seattle City Light seems to function at least as well as the typical sports team you see around the country. I don't think a municipal team would always be champions, but they might every once in a while, and that would be more than enough for most sports fans.

And if we did decide to invest in facilities, we could keep all the profits and be sure the team would never walk out on us before the thing was paid for.

Posted by elenchos | November 2, 2007 1:06 PM

@7 - LOL ... that player was none other than Rasheed Wallace. Though never known as the most mentally stable player, Sheed does have a point - gambling refs, ticky-tack foul calling, letting Michael Jordan take three steps to the basket all those years ... it's endless.

To make a typical NBA game, you can give both teams 100 points and put 2 minutes on the clock. A game that ends like that almost every time is very easy to fix.

Posted by Mahtli69 | November 2, 2007 1:11 PM

Ceis is right. Typical right winger strategy: Burn the village to save the village. Starve the beast. Etc etc...

And Clay Bennett looks like a hobo, dressed by Goodwill.

Posted by DOUG. | November 2, 2007 1:11 PM

the Packers are owned by Green Bay - they seem to work OK.

i'm fine with the idea of munincipal ownership - it would keep them at Key Arena, which is the best place to watch an NBA game in the entire league.

but i bet none of the other owners or david stern would allow it.

Posted by max solomon | November 2, 2007 1:16 PM

@9 - The only community owned pro sports team in the US is the Green Bay Packers. There isn't anything going on in Green Bay besides football, so the team has clout.

I can't imagine a municipal organization, particularly in Seattle, going after a free agent or retaining good players. Pay Kevin Durant 10 million a year or fund parks, schools, transportation, and everything else that we lack? That would be an interesting budget meeting.

Posted by Mahtli69 | November 2, 2007 1:18 PM

Nickels is a vindictive asshole, but on this issue I'm glad he's OUR vindictive asshole.

Posted by Trevor | November 2, 2007 1:23 PM
Pay Kevin Durant 10 million a year or fund parks, schools, transportation, and everything else that we lack?

That is exactly how the question should be asked, and the answer will tell you just how important sports really are. A city owned team would put the cost of winning in proper perspective.

But if sports fans are saying they want to fuck the taxpayer not just so they can keep their precious team, but so they can keep their precious winning team, well they are asking too much.

I think we could own the team and break even on the deal, and the kids would get to see their heroes play ball. Winning? Probably not too often.

Posted by elenchos | November 2, 2007 1:31 PM

Sooner they leave, sooner we can get an NHL franchise.

Or a curling expansion team.

Tim Horton's, here I come!

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 2, 2007 1:32 PM

My headline:

"Dykes win, straights lose in fight for hoops squads."

Posted by frederick r | November 2, 2007 1:34 PM

Why can't Ceis issue city statements, instead of Nichols? He sounds much more interesting.

Given that there is a potential local owner (this Dennis Daugs guy) expressing interest in a team, who does not seem opposed to a renovated Key Arena, and Bennett says he is not selling the team, I think what people who really want a team (and I'm not one of them) should perhaps be looking at is letting Bennett ship off, and bring another struggling team here (and keep the Sonics name).

Something roughly analogous happened a few years ago when owner George Shinn was run out of Charlotte.

Posted by JMR | November 2, 2007 1:39 PM

Bennett bought the team fair and square and everyone's known ever since that he's going to move them to OK City. I don't see what the sudden big deal is today -- that he just officially announced his intentions?

Posted by Peter | November 2, 2007 1:39 PM

The fact that Ceis' name is attached to any sort of public comment can only mean one thing.

He's coming.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | November 2, 2007 1:47 PM

It's small consolation knowing that the team's going to a shithole where they'll never make money, but it is a small consolation. Imagine if they were moving to some place that could actually support basketball.

Posted by Eric F | November 2, 2007 2:34 PM

The OK City daily is sponsoring a contest to name the new team. That was quick.

Posted by ahava | November 2, 2007 3:28 PM

@21, what's a better place that the Sonics could go that doesn't have a team but would support one? And why do you assume that OK City won't support a team; they seem excited...

Posted by Peter | November 2, 2007 3:31 PM

@23. It doesn't matter if they're excited. They're too small (not to mention too poor) to support an NBA team, even after the city and state open up their coffers.

These are the 44 US cities that are larger media markets than OK City. Something like 19 of them don't have an NBA team.

1. New York City
2. Los Angeles
3. Chicago
4. Philadelphia
5. Dallas/Fort Worth
6. San Francisco/
Oakland/San Jose
7. Boston / Manchester, NH
8. Atlanta
9. Washington, D.C.
10. Houston
11. Detroit
12. Phoenix
13. Tampa/St. Petersburg/
14. Seattle/Tacoma
15. Minneapolis/St. Paul
16. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale
17. Cleveland/Akron/Canton
18. Denver
19. Orlando/Daytona Beach/
20. Sacramento/Stockton/
21. St. Louis
22. Pittsburgh
23. Portland, OR
24. Baltimore
25. Charlotte
26. Indianapolis
27. San Diego
28. Raleigh/Durham/
29. Hartford/New Haven
30. Nashville
31. Kansas City, MO
32. Columbus, OH
33. Cincinnati
34. Milwaukee
35. Salt Lake City
36. Greenville/Spartanburg/
37. San Antonio / Del Rio
38. West Palm Beach
39. Grand Rapids/
Battle Creek
40. Birmingham/Anniston/
41. Harrisburg/Lancaster/
42. Hampton Roads, VA
43. Las Vegas
44. Albuquerque/Santa Fe

Posted by Eric F | November 2, 2007 4:16 PM

They should rename the team OK Go.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 2, 2007 4:28 PM

The name of the team should be:

The Oklahoma Cuzpumpers.

Posted by Toadstool | November 2, 2007 5:19 PM

I think they should name them the Oklahoma City Bombers.

Posted by TimmyMcV | November 2, 2007 5:40 PM

That's terrible. Terribly funny!

Posted by Boom Dynamite | November 13, 2007 10:42 PM

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