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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sonics Settlement…

posted by on July 2 at 17:37 PM

Bennett is paying $45 million now and is leaving now.

That covers outstanding rent and outstanding debt. The Sonics still owe $20 million in back revenues. To comply with the revenue-sharing agreement in the original lease, the Sonics would have had to pay a total of more than $50 million.

And now, exactly like last session in Olympia, the city is going back to the legislature to ask for $75 million in County taxing authority to renovate KeyArena to try and attract a team…. Ok.

Asked how this—going to the legislature to ask for more money—is any different than last year, Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis pointed to an aspect of the settlement that the city kept hyping at today’s press conference: They’ve got the NBA on record in the settlement saying a renovated KeyArena would be up to specs for the NBA.

Whoop dee doo. NBA President David Stern is already on record saying just that. One of the big arguments the city made in court last week was that the NBA had signed off on a Key Renovation in ‘06 when the city tried to get a $200 million deal for Howard Schultz’s Sonics. Stern came to Olympia at that time and testified that a renovated Key met NBA standards.

The city is also making a convoluted argument to spin its settlement: Part of the deal is that Bennett is on the hook for another $30 million if Seattle doesn’t get a team by 2013. This supposedly invests the NBA board of voting owners (1 vote out of 30) in playing ball with Seattle. (The settlement says, yawn, that the NBA will keep Seattle in the loop about teams coming up for sale and any expansion possibilities. Dude, I can get that on the web.)

The $30 million also, supposedly, invests the legislature because the $30 million disappears if the legislature doesn’t approve a funding plan next session. But the $30 million also disappears if we don’t get a team by 2013… (indeed, at the press conference, Mayor Nickels kept stressing that he hoped we didn’t get the $30 million because that’ll mean we would have gotten a team.) Huh?

Let me explain that again: If the legislature approves a funding plan in next year’s session, the city gets $30 million. If we get a team (the point of giving the city the funding plan approved by the legislature) the city loses the $30 million. And let me repeat again: Huh?

Bottom line: Bennett is giving the city $45 million and taking the team to Oklahoma City.

Oh, the city does get to keep the name.

RSS icon Comments


I'm getting off on all of the heartbreak from the idiots who get vested in sports teams

Posted by Non | July 2, 2008 5:37 PM

What a fucking sell-out by the City of Seattle. Nickels is a pussy. $45 million is chump change to the NBA, just one-third of Gilbert Arenas's contract.

Posted by DOUG. | July 2, 2008 5:39 PM

And now the city is going back to the legislature to ask for $75 million to renovate KeyArena to try and attract a team…. Ok.

What. The. Fuck?????

Good God WHY?

Posted by JenK | July 2, 2008 5:41 PM

The legislature wouldn't ok the $75 million to keep the Sonics here, why would they do it without a guaranteed team?

Posted by Poll Watcher | July 2, 2008 5:42 PM

And now the city is going back to the legislature to ask for $75 million to renovate KeyArena to try and attract a team…. Ok.

What makes the city think this will happen? The legislators will just send out the same form letters they did regarding the last session... "tens of thousands of uninsured children... tax dollars to support millionaires..." etc etc

Posted by jmr | July 2, 2008 5:49 PM

Splitting the baby works for me, but no new team, please. New tenants, yes. New basketball team, no.

Posted by Matthew | July 2, 2008 5:49 PM

David Stern statement on the settlement:

Posted by jmr | July 2, 2008 5:53 PM

David Stern needs to suck a big fat log of shit out of an infected legislator tout suite.

Posted by Fnarf | July 2, 2008 5:57 PM

Dear shithead basketball haters,

Imagine every movie theater just left Seattle. Or every rock club. Or every theater. Or every (fill in the blank with something you really like).

That's what happened to basketball fans today. Why do you have to be such assholes about it? Did you go over to last week and post "He wasn't that funny--I'm glad he's dead!"?

I understand your hatred of jocks, and of giving money to sports teams . . . believe me, I have mixed feelings about it as well. But we're talking about 40 years of Seattle history today being stolen by a right-wing, corporate thug. Maybe you don't give a shit about Seattle history. I do.

Paul Merrill

Posted by Paul Merrill | July 2, 2008 6:03 PM

Actually, Paul, I do care about Seattle's history. That's why I'm glad that the Sonics are out. They've been extorting our tax dollars for years. We need the money for other things. The movie theaters and rock clubs you mention pay their own way. That's a major distinction. We can get another basketball team, if need be, and we've still go the name. It's not the end of the world. It is, however, an exciting opportunity to do something correctly around here (for once). Not I that necessarily believe that that's what will happen... but we'll have the chance.

Posted by Matthew | July 2, 2008 6:11 PM

Dear Paul Merrill:

If you would pay for your own damn entertainment, like the cinema, theater, and nightclub fans do, then the rest of us would leave you in peace.

P.S. I'm just overwhelmed that you have "mixed feelings" about taking my money. I'll have to remember to use that line the next time I mug someone.

Posted by David Wright | July 2, 2008 6:15 PM

Paul Merrill,

If every movie theater in town closed down, someone else would open up another one within minutes, and they would do it with their own money, not by running crying to the city and the state that they needed a $300 million theater for free or they'd leave town. In fact, that's the situation we have now -- a hundred movie theaters all over town, operating without public subsidy. Hmm.

Basketball fans may "deserve" a team to root for, but they don't deserve a free ride.

Posted by Fnarf | July 2, 2008 6:16 PM

Speaking of not spending tax dollars on sports arenas - no word from the mysterious Emerald City Center on today's events.

Posted by jmr | July 2, 2008 6:20 PM

I didn't think I could find anything more despicable than Clay Bennett and David Stern's circle-jerkin' square dance, but I guess in the end, it was as much about money for the NBA guys as it was for the "City of Seattle." Gross. Who's to say this guaranteed $45 mill goes toward anything worthwhile--aside from paying the bills of a city lawyer team that obviously didn't earn their checks?

Posted by Sam M. | July 2, 2008 6:21 PM

Uh .... Go Blazers?

Posted by Mahtli69 | July 2, 2008 6:23 PM

@14 - I think the Sonics owners' original offer was $25 mill, and the City's legal bill is about $1 mill, so the lawsuit more than paid for itself.

Posted by Mahtli69 | July 2, 2008 6:27 PM

As a disinterested cager bystander - Sonics and everyone else - I looked up some Sonics players' salaries - and see that one guy in 2008 is making $17,388,430 per annum or $1,984 per hour. Admittedly I flunked Econ 101 in college, but I truly would like to comprehend (or grasp, or get, or conceive) why anyone should get that much money for throwing a ball at a Naismith peach basket. Anyone?

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | July 2, 2008 6:29 PM

I guess Slog readers will rightly lay blame for this debacle on Democratic leadership in this state by punishing Gov. Christine Gregoire this November and re-electing Dino Rossi.

Posted by Don Ward | July 2, 2008 6:29 PM

@16: They were fighting to keep the team in Seattle. This didn't happen. This is like paying a plumber to fix your toilet, and instead, he leaves you a baggie full of 3x the cash you'd planned paying him... and a house that is now smothered in shit because of an exploded toilet. So, ya know, enjoy your money and your shit.

Posted by Sam M. | July 2, 2008 6:31 PM

@18 - So, Don, you're saying that a Republican administration would raise our taxes to pay for a new arena? How ironic.

Posted by Mahtli69 | July 2, 2008 6:33 PM

Fuck Bennet, Fuck Stern, Fuck Schultz, Fuck Nickels. They have stolen a piece of our history, our city, whether you like it or not. I feel cheated and robbed. I fucking hate this. The NBA is done in this town, no team will come and Stern and Bennet are laughing their way out of this one. Assholes...

Posted by poopypants | July 2, 2008 6:35 PM

@19 - If they really wanted the team in Seattle, they would've spent the political capital necessary to keep the team here last year. That did not happen.

This was strictly an attempt to maximize the payout from the new owners, and, by my math, the $1 million investment in legal fees just netted a extra $20 million in settlement money.

Posted by Mahtli69 | July 2, 2008 6:38 PM

@11 nails it. I've heard every argument for funding the Sonics, from "It's just like government sponsorship of the arts!" to "It's just like a public/private partnership!", but I haven't seen the results from the Sonics that would make either of those true.

It's a sad day for the basketball fans, but it's a win for common sense that we stood up to David Stern and his bullying.

Posted by Ryan | July 2, 2008 6:41 PM

Fuck the sonics. Lets get a pro hockey team at key arena.

Posted by Rotten666 | July 2, 2008 6:42 PM


Posted by Non | July 2, 2008 6:43 PM

@22: I don't mean to bicker -- the ultimate issue here is that the NBA is winning with its crap. What they've done all along is work up a nationwide master plan that makes big cities feel forced to cave to NBA demands for public money. That's what they wanted in the first place. When we balked, Bennett got to work moving the team to a city that was willing to pay up, and now that Seattle shows any interest and has this sad debacle, the NBA's right there to remind us that we still have a great opportunity to open our wallets and keep the old game goin! Boy, aren't they the most accommodating bunch of money-grubbers.

I just kinda wish our city would've been just as willing to hold up a middle-finger to the NBA's tactics as I am: held up the lease, enjoyed two more years of Sonics basketball that didn't require millions in more public funding, let a few bucks slip through for the sake of a lease that was already valid and standing. I suppose it's childish to think never-ending litigation would've been worth it, which would've surely kept up. But like I said a while ago, the NBA has known all along what it's doing, and the best thing Seattle can do at this point is tell the NBA--and all other huge businesses that demand so much public cash for so little return--to go try peddling their gypsy wares in Oklahoma instead.

Posted by Sam M. | July 2, 2008 6:46 PM

@24 -- you can't have top-level hockey at the Key, because when the Sonics remodeled it ten years ago, they deliberately made the floor too small for hockey. When the T-Birds play there, one of the ends is partly under the overhang, which they allow in the WHL but not in the NHL.

You can't blame Bennett for that.

Posted by Fnarf | July 2, 2008 6:48 PM

Aren't you forgetting something? You still have the Storm, and they've actually managed to win a championship in the last decade.

Posted by Sean P | July 2, 2008 6:49 PM

Really, this is about the best that could have been expected.

NBA basketball is almost like a private enterprise. The owner wanted to move the team. He moves the team.

The city was owed some money according to the terms of the lease. The city gets some money

The only bad to come out of this is that if another NBA team comes to town it might be named the SuperSonics. This is bad because that franchise is gone. The name was based on something that was never built by what is now a nasty nasty defense contractor based in Chicago. Nostalgia yea. C

Back to sexist pit bull youth pastors into impressionism.

Posted by umvue | July 2, 2008 6:53 PM

Paul @ 9,

If you & your buddies value having a bunch of Ferrari-driving 20-something playboys to root for, great -- pay for them with your own money.

I'm taking mine to the movie theatre, which somehow manages to survive on private funds.

Posted by Eric Arrr | July 2, 2008 6:57 PM

@25. Good point!

Posted by Matthew | July 2, 2008 6:58 PM

I don't mean to be insensitive to either group, but the Huskies and Storm are not nearly in the same league as even the worst NBA team (i.e. Sonics). That's like saying "Well, the Seattle Symphony just left town, but my grandpa still play banjo!"

And to everyone else hating on basketball, I wasn't arguing for public money for my personal hobby/interest. I was totally against a new, needless arena for millionaire assholes. I'm saying EMOTIONALLY it's the same as losing every movie theater/club in that there is no substitute for it in Seattle. The NBA model is broken--they have spent the last 10 years fucking over working class fans like myself. That doesn't mean I can't love basketball and miss the Sonics. You don't have to be an fuckwad about rubbing sports fans noses in it. We aren't the enemy.

Posted by Paul Merrill | July 2, 2008 7:03 PM

+1 @32

Posted by cw | July 2, 2008 7:18 PM

MLS in 2009!

Posted by DOUG. | July 2, 2008 7:19 PM

Paul Merrill: admit it -- it's because you are a NBA fan and thus intimidated by collegiate institutions, isn't it.

Posted by Non | July 2, 2008 7:24 PM

@ 32 - "Well, the Seattle Symphony just left town, but my grandpa still play banjo!"

Thanks for putting a smile on my face on such a shitty day, Paul. Maybe I should go to Laffhole tonight to cheer myself up a bit. Instead I will probably just drink a fifth of vodka and cry myself to sleep.

Posted by Clint | July 2, 2008 7:24 PM

Clint can't you see how existentially ridiculous it is to be saddened by something of this nature??????

Never mind. You have no idea what that means.

I mourn your pathetic waste of time.

But oh wait; I'm on Slog so who am I to judge.

Posted by Non | July 2, 2008 7:28 PM

@35 that's like saying the Seattle Symphony is afraid of Paul's grandpa's banjo playing.

Posted by chet | July 2, 2008 7:29 PM

I'm also sad for you non, because it seems pretty obvious that your only experience with sports was having some jock flush your head in the toilet in high school... or maybe you were a tennis player... or maybe both...

Posted by Clint | July 2, 2008 7:34 PM

I'm 6'5" and was the highs school basketball ~star~!

Then I got myself a college education and the rest is history. Like your joke of a team, Clint. Remember? How they SUCKED ASS?

Maybe you shouldn't be pitied; you should be checked for being delusional enough to blindly support them.

Posted by Non | July 2, 2008 7:38 PM

Well, my thought on this whole deal is: Key Arena is what it is. Was it a premier venue compared to home arenas for other NBA teams? No (I've been to amateur hockey venues in lower B.C. that are nicer than Key Arena). Should we have capitulated to David Stern's extortion racket and paid all that money to upgrade it? No. Hell no. Will it eventually need to undergo an upgrade to make it a more viable (more profitable) venue? Probably, yeah. But for now, this is probably the best outcome we could expect. We lost the Sonics, we get $45 million that will be likely be squandered on something useless, and life goes on. At least no one died.

Posted by Hernandez | July 2, 2008 7:39 PM

Yeah, Non, your comments are WAY over Clint's head! He's only an acclaimed filmmaker and the head of one of the top film festivals on the west coast. Hims not understands your big wurds!

Hooray for stereotypes!

(I admit, I'm a community college drop out--feel free to mock me.)

Posted by Paul Merrill | July 2, 2008 7:47 PM

@40 well, we can now put all the pieces together. You're a bball "star", are proud of college sports and you are angry at pro sports.


you, a 6'5" player, didn't get recruited by the Sonics - or any pro team - and are still bitter (your parents must have been so disappointed).

Posted by chet | July 2, 2008 7:51 PM

@32: I'm with you.

And, for those that believe in the notion of a major metropolitan city without a basketball team: BOOOO. You don't have to like sports to appreciate the benefits of pro teams. Jesus.

Posted by kerri harrop | July 2, 2008 7:56 PM

i'm both sad to see the team go and happy that our city didn't cave into the nba (not that bennent wanted that anyway).

i don't really like jocks or basketball, but don't mind watching a game once a year. this isn't high school; i understand that other people have different interests. professional sports are popular, and a city should support them just as a city should support music and the arts.

what bennet wanted, however, was out of hand. i'm glad the city said no, and i'm glad this lawsuit resulted in a few extra million. i don't think it is likely the culture of pro sports is going to change any time soon. there is a little part of my, however, that hopes this is the beginning of something.

Posted by infrequent | July 2, 2008 7:58 PM


The end, over, nothing left to say, period.

Posted by Non | July 2, 2008 8:01 PM

Well, whatever side you're on, I think we can all agree that it would be a good thing if Bennett was torn to pieces by a pack of pit bulls on his way to the Oklahoma City Okies' first game.

Posted by Fnarf | July 2, 2008 8:02 PM

Non -- you're an idiot. I believe it's freshman in college that make arguments like "emotionally vested in a pastime ... blah, blah, blah". Well, college freshman and Ralph Nader. Welcome to the nut club.

Posted by non-Non | July 2, 2008 8:07 PM

Can we stop being a World Class City now?

Posted by pox | July 2, 2008 8:13 PM


if it's "WHO'S" you need a period after "PASTIME" and a question mark at the end.

to answer the question - I think you described every business model ever created (especially EVEL's...and if you mock him I WILL find you).

Posted by chet | July 2, 2008 8:14 PM

"The end, over, nothing left to say, period."

That's a great way to end a debate! I hope Barrack uses that this fall--he'll win every time!


Also, great reasoning there. There is absolutely no purpose to basketball other than corporate greed. Everyone investing time and money into caring about basketball must be victims of mass hypnosis! No one could possibly enjoy watching some of the world's greatest athletes compete in one of the purest, most beautiful sports ever invented. That's why it's sweeping across Europe and Asia and becoming one of the world's most popular sports. Because it's so stupid.

Clearly you win! Mercy! I surrender!

Posted by Paul Merrill | July 2, 2008 8:22 PM


Well goddamn. Didn't know that.

This town needs an enema.

Posted by Rotten666 | July 2, 2008 8:26 PM

Sonics fans,

You're probably feeling like the Browns fans felt when Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore. In about ten years you can look back on this and realize that Bennett didn't ruin your life. He took a bunch of basketball players and moved them to Oklahoma. Since professional athletes are traded all the time, you could have lost one or all anyway even if Bennett hadn't gotten a better offer elsewhere. Seattle still has the name and a stadium. Your prince will come, Cinderella.

p.s. I can't say I'm heart broken because of that pay-your-own-damn-way-instead-of-using-taxes thing Eric et al brought up. Seriously, it's corporate wellfare.

Posted by yucca flower | July 2, 2008 8:37 PM

Fnarf @ 47:"...I think we can all agree that it would be a good thing if Bennett was torn to pieces by a pack of pit bulls on his way to the Oklahoma City Okies' first game."

If I may disagree a bit...I don't think Bennett is the villain here. He has been fairly transparent with his intentions; did anyone not seriously think he was going to move the team when the real slime ball in this mess, Schultz, sold it?

The other person I blame is Barry Ackerley, former owner. Key Arena was (re)built pretty much to his specifications (thus no NHL, fewer luxury boxes, etc.).

I think the City got a decent deal, considering. The state, once Governor Gregoire and the Democrats in the Legislature has won comfortably in October, will pony up the money, just wait and see.

One last (curmudgeonly) thought...can we bring back the name "Coliseum"??

Posted by J. Whorfin | July 2, 2008 8:52 PM

Me @ 54: Elections are in November, dummy...

Posted by J. Whorfin | July 2, 2008 8:54 PM

@54, Bennett's not the villain, you're right. He's more like Krang to Stern's Shredder -- evil, but certainly not the worst of the bunch.

Transparent, though? Really? Just because everyone suspected Bennett intended to move the team doesn't mean he was forthcoming about it. Didn't the trial spend like one or two whole days on Bennett's lack of transparency?

Posted by joykiller | July 2, 2008 8:57 PM

i still have a sweet ass jumper and i got to see the payton run the floor with kemp. yeah, i'll miss the supes, but lets not fool ourselves they were leaving no matter what. no one was going to stop them and im sure they planned it with that toad stern and the nba mafia. the legislature should not cave in. we have huge budget problems in this state and were risking losing clinics, more schools, as well as parks. there's some problems coming and trust me, no one loves hoops more than me, and i loathe the seattle newcomers who talk crap about sports like little resentful wimps who got beat up in high school, but we SHOULD NOT subsidize millionaires. and regardless of the outcome we should take some pride in the fact that we said, kiss my ass ya honky, to stern.

but no matter what, howard schultz is the real scumbucket here.

i encourage you all to cheer on the sixers. after all, philly is the closest thing to heaven.

Posted by SeMe | July 2, 2008 9:06 PM

@54 the real slime ball in this mess, Schultz

i love it.

Posted by take the money and run | July 2, 2008 9:08 PM

Well fuck, one of our sports teams is ko'd. We still got two. A lot of people like the Storm. Three. And we get the MLS team. So we got four. Imagine being a sports fan in South Dakota and you hate college.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | July 2, 2008 9:09 PM

hey the lakotas have a pretty good hoops team in pine ridge. skins play some ball. i beleive their motto is -we will school your ass at wounded knee.

Posted by SeMe | July 2, 2008 9:13 PM

I'm not a sports fan. I'm much more of a vintage dinnerware guy: Give me a few beers and start me on Franciscan versus Metlox, and we'll be here all night.

But I do sincerely feel bad for the people who feel bad about the whole basketball thing. (unlike those people who gloated about the loss of my beloved Ballard Denny's, but why live in the past, right? ;-)

Can't we just get a new team and everything will be OK? As long as they don't alter the exterior of the Washington State Coliseum - aka "the Key") I'm cool with that. Just don't ask me to sit through a game.
But tell me this: If we get to keep the name, what does it matter if the team goes away? Can't we get a new team, and call them the Supersonics?

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | July 2, 2008 9:16 PM

As @15 pointed out, the Blazers will probably pick up a few more fans north of the Columbia. NBA basketball hasn't entirely vanished from the northwest.

I'm not much of a basketball fan but the silver lining may be that the athletes who play for the Storm and the UW will get more recognition for their talents.

Posted by RainMan | July 2, 2008 9:26 PM

joykiller @ 56: "Transparent, though? Really?"

I meant the dictionary definition of transparent that is "easily detected or seen through", opposed to the "characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices" definition.

Posted by J. Whorfin | July 2, 2008 9:29 PM

@61, yeah, I guess there's a lining to this cloud. Not silver, but whatever. Better to be the post-Modell Browns than the Charlotte Bobcats.

But as people have alluded to in the comments here, the odds of Seattle scoring a replacement team anytime soon are pretty slim. The NBA's "business model" -- a generous term for extortion -- means expansion's not likely anytime soon. Certainly not as long as King Stern's there. That leaves the alternative of picking up the Grizzlies or some other troubled franchise (New Orleans?). I don't know about everyone else, but I don't want to emulate the carpetbaggers from OKC.

And even if we do land a team? It won't be the same. Even the "good" owner here -- Matt Griffin -- insists on a major expansion/rehab of KeyArena. Pro basketball in Seattle/King County, if it returns, will be at some megaplex in the burbs or a Key that no one recognizes.

I'd love to console myself with the T-Birds, except they no longer play at the Key either. And the Storm? A great product, but who wants to watch indoor basketball in the summer?

Beyond the fact that a beloved part of my childhood and adult life, and Seattle's identity for the past 4 decades, has been stolen, it bothers me that no one cares. 2/3 of this town came from somewhere else and, if they even have sports allegiances, they lie elsewhere. The apathy surrounding the Sonics' departure is emblematic of the shit I see every day: people who claim to love the city but have absolutely no sense of its history, no sense of what it used to be before it became San Francisco v.2: a city for twentysomething hipsters, the very rich, and the very poor.

Posted by joykiller | July 2, 2008 9:34 PM

@63, in that case, you're right.

Oh, and @61: even though you're not a basketball fan, thanks for realizing how much this means to some people and not pouring salt in the wound.

Posted by joykiller | July 2, 2008 9:36 PM

espn has a good article up,it leads with this:

"The NBA should be banned from using the phrase "NBA Cares" in any future public service announcement"

Posted by SeMe | July 2, 2008 9:37 PM

Seattle doesn't have to change its name, cool.

Posted by ouch | July 2, 2008 9:50 PM

joykiller @ 64: " sense of what it used to be before it became San Francisco v.2"

Good post. Personally, I prefer Fnarf's definition of Seattle sometimes being "Boise trying to be San Francisco".

Posted by J. Whorfin | July 2, 2008 9:50 PM

Pretty weak showing for Team Nickels. A big city Mayor should not get his talking points from some out of town syndicate.

I think every city should buy a voting interest in their home teams to avoid this crap in the future.

Posted by Zander | July 2, 2008 10:01 PM


The apathy surrounding the Sonics' departure is emblematic of the shit I see every day: people who claim to love the city but have absolutely no sense of its history,

It's interesting that you say that, because I had a discussion with real sports fans, who happen to have lived in this city much longer than I, about the Sonics. The general consensus was that the Sonics have done nothing to build a real fan base. Even the Mariners, perpetual losers, have more people willing to go to bat for them (heh) than the Sonics. I also have a number of friends/acquaintances who work for the county and city councils. When the issue of new stadiums for the Seahawks and Mariners came up several years ago, a deluge of mail came in to both councils, demanding that local pols do whatever they can to make sure both teams stay. Nothing, and I mean nothing, has come in in support of the Sonics.

Only a trivial number of people give a fuck about the Sonics, and it's entirely the Sonics' fault.

Posted by keshmeshi | July 2, 2008 10:17 PM

And when I say real sports fans, I mean compared to me, not compared to other people who have posted here. Sorry.

Posted by keshmeshi | July 2, 2008 10:19 PM

I was curious about OKC's reaction to the news, so went to their daily newspaper -
Their elation with getting the Sonics shared top story headlines with a story about a couple of middle aged women who were making a movie about various dogs fucking them. The women were reported to the sheriff's office by one of their sons and the breeds of the dogs were carefully specified, obviously important to the citizenry. It was indicated that the dogs would receive the death sentence for their misdeeds. Sonics or not, Oklahoma will forever be a red state.

Posted by bill | July 2, 2008 10:31 PM

@70, fair enough. I won't try to quantify fan support here, but since George Karl left, the product was pretty uninteresting and the last few years haven't done much to grab new fans. So yeah, you're probably right.

One thing to bear in mind, though: when the M's and Seahawks wanted new stadiums, they were playing in the Kingdome. There's a very tiny piece of my heart devoted to the nostalgia of the Kingdome, but objectively, it was a really shitty place to watch a ballgame. Regardless of the funding controversies or the quality of the product on the field(s), no fan in their right mind can argue that Qwest and Safeco weren't improvements.

Sonics fans, though? They didn't want a new arena -- the Key has the best sightlines in the NBA, it's close to some great bars and restaurants, well served by buses, etc. Oh, and it was renovated less than a decade ago. The only possible reason to support a new arena was to ensure that the Sonics stayed -- because the out-of-town ownership demanded it.

For me personally, the Sonics were third -- I've always paid more attention to the M's and Seahawks, and those franchises mean more to me than the Sonics. But it still hurts -- a lot -- to see the Sonics leave.

Posted by joykiller | July 2, 2008 10:32 PM

Then Seattle needs to buy the Clippers - LA doesn't need two teams. And then we'd have BARON MUDDAFUGGIN'DAVIS!

Posted by Raisin' my Pimp 'n Stein | July 2, 2008 10:44 PM

The city bent over and took it right up the ass.

They BLEW it.

They just rewarded a fucking scumbag.

I guess now the NBA is unstoppable as far as organized crime is concerned.

Nickels should be repealed and his cronies shitcanned.

Posted by ecce homo | July 2, 2008 10:45 PM

I remember the 2 games we took from Jordan in 1996. I remember the sweet sounds of a Dale Ellis 3 and the Scheffler chants. I still have my #40 jersey. I went to my first game when I was 6 and in my last game here KD hit a half courter and we beat the Nuggets in double overtime. I guess I'm a blazer fan now? Clay and Stern are a couple of first class jerks.

Good to read you again Josh.

Posted by Rob Johnson | July 2, 2008 10:57 PM

Franciscan wins on variety, and some of their patterns are serious classics (our wedding china was Oasis), but you can't knock those great Metlox shapes, like Peppertree. Nor would I pass up on some of the great Vernon patterns like Bel Air. But if I had to choose right now, and money was no object, I'd be turning away from California and looking overseas: I love the simplicity and warmth of Heath. But my real favorites lately are Finnish and Norwegian patterns -- anything Figgjo, especially Tor Viking or the Turi designs like Lotte. Mmpfh.

Posted by Fnarf | July 3, 2008 12:15 AM

What did Howard Schultz think was going to happen when he sold the team to a guy from OKC, someone who had already stated his desire to have an NBA team? Schultz is the one who sold us out....

Posted by seattlescott69 | July 3, 2008 12:16 AM

@74 Baron Davis was/is a warrior you fuckwad--the Clippers have a shitty retarded owner and have been one of the worst franchises in the HISTORY of the league. We dont want them.
@70--The sonics were in the playoffs only a few years ago--had serious talent in Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Antonio Daniels et al--and then the new owners came in and cleaned house, and blew it up....Bennet sent a shit product out on the floor and all of this has worked in their favor...These people have made calculated, dishonest, coniving moves, and now they have a team in their dry hick fuck of a town. I HOPE KEVIN DURANT BLOWS HIS KNEE OUT, JEFF GREEN GETS SYPHILLIS, CHRIS WILCOX GETS JAILED FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, LUKE RIDNOUR DIES OF SUNBURN AND BENNET CHOKES TO DEATH ON A CHICKEN WING!!!!!

Posted by NicktheBrick | July 3, 2008 12:30 AM

Jesus, with the persistence and optimism that they keep asking the legislature for more money, am I the only one who regrets not specifying that they play in a city-wide monorail?

Because it seems that's how mass transit gets done.

Posted by eh-seh-beh | July 3, 2008 1:01 AM

Damn, I already told Nickels he'd never get my vote again after he helped kill the monorail, so I guess this doesn't change much.

"Beyond the fact that a beloved part of my childhood and adult life, and Seattle's identity for the past 4 decades, has been stolen, it bothers me that no one cares. 2/3 of this town came from somewhere else and, if they even have sports allegiances, they lie elsewhere. The apathy surrounding the Sonics' departure is emblematic of the shit I see every day: people who claim to love the city but have absolutely no sense of its history, no sense of what it used to be before it became San Francisco v.2: a city for twentysomething hipsters, the very rich, and the very poor."

What you said.

Now excuse me while I comfort myself with memories of '79.

Posted by litlnemo | July 3, 2008 1:57 AM

Personally, I started to become disenchanted with Seattle when Frederick & Nelson closed. I could give you a long list of things that were fun and quirky and unique about this town that are no more, but it would bore you to tears, and make me look like one of those nostalgia dorks, which I am most definitely not. I just despise standardization, especially when it makes everything look like the set of a bad sitcom.

But we'll always have the mountains and the water, and that's a big consolation. All OKC has is flat.

And Fnarf really - European china? Are you a communist? My "wedding" china is Franciscan Silver Pine, but I have an awful lot of Starburst, some Autumn, and service for something like 2,396 (as long as their not picky) of Metlox Navajo.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | July 3, 2008 6:29 AM

@44 You don't have to like an individual pro team to like sports.

Posted by NaFun | July 3, 2008 7:18 AM

@76: The mid-90's Sonics were my team, and nothing can take them from me, not even Clay Bennett. He didn't watch Jordan shoot 35/70 points against the Sonics, didn't grow up on Xavier McDaniel and his sharpened fingernails, didn't groan at the fugly-ass logo reworking, didn't shriek with excitement when we went to the finals in 96. The Nuggets game was the last I went to, and I cheered for the Nuggets b/c I love George Karl for what he gave me in the 90's. However, by the end of the second overtime, I was back to the Sonics, the team I was weaned on.

Fuck you, Clay Bennett. Fuck you, Howard Schultz. You lost my money and my dad's money.

Go Storm!

Posted by Jessica | July 3, 2008 8:03 AM


Posted by Greg | July 3, 2008 8:07 AM

@ 64 - I'm pretty sure Stern vowed that Seattle wouldn't get another team as long he was the commissioner.

@ 79 - Davis just opted out of his contract with the Warriors and signed with the Clippers.

Posted by UnoriginalAndrew | July 3, 2008 8:27 AM

I have a lot of friends who are/were Seattle Sonics fans who are also saying good riddance. To them, it was an unhealthy relationship that finally ended yesterday. I'm a little surprised the press didn't hear from that fraction of Sonics fans who are sad but were sickened by Bennett from the get-go. I guess it's easier to showcase those who have more trouble adapting to change.

Now let's support our *original* Sonics, the band from Tacoma that predates the basketball team by 4 years. They're playing at the Paramount Theatre as a reunion this Halloween, and those are the O.G. Sonics I'm supporting.

Posted by mackro mackro | July 3, 2008 9:11 AM

@72, you're on to something. Since the Sonics' name and logo must remain here, the franchise needs a new name. Everybody get on your feet for the Oklahoma Dogfuckers!

(cue lasers, spotlights and Alan Parsons music...)

Posted by Joe M | July 3, 2008 9:24 AM

Go felch yourself, @79. Check your facts before you hop on and POST IN ALL CAPS. May I direct you to a little place called the CraigsList Rant & Rave forum?

Posted by Baron Muddafuggin Davis | July 3, 2008 9:34 AM

@87: The real Sonics at the Paramount? Well, guess I have plans for Halloween now.

Posted by Jessica | July 3, 2008 9:58 AM

Glad we get to keep the name of Seattle.

I was worried the NBA would give it to Oklahoma.

Posted by Will in Sonics | July 3, 2008 10:13 AM

Thanks for all your coverage of this, Josh.

What a dumb deal. I thought the whole point of the lawsuit was to stand up to these professional sports leagues and say that their business model of demanding public money but not giving the public a proportional cut of the proceeds is over. Instead, we get a "deal" that says $75 million of city (taxpayer) money and $75 million of state (taxpayer) money should go to exactly what voters have said very clearly it shouldn't. WTF?!

Well, at least it's a great issue for any City Council member or mayoral candidate next year with any guts to stand up to this corrupt culture of "public-private partnerships."

Posted by Trevor | July 3, 2008 11:02 AM

@27: You are correct, the "sightlines" in the renovated Key are not acceptable for the NHL. As a hockey fan, I was dissapointed when I learned that, especially since I believe it was done that way to avoid competition over tickets, etc. for the departing Sonics.

As for sports history in Seattle, Look up the Metropolitans. Hockey has an older, richer history here than Basketball by far.

Posted by Gabe | July 3, 2008 11:13 AM

@93: older, yes, but richer? I love me some hockey around here, but the WHL has been the main (only) game in town for decades. The rich history of the Metropolitans (and their Stanley Cup victory) and the Totems is dead or dying.

Posted by joykiller | July 3, 2008 11:21 AM

@93: FIRST Stanley Cup by won a team in the U.S., that's history. ONLY time the Stanley Cup was never awarded since it's inception the Mets were involved, that's history. Yes the Sonics one title is more recent, but I'd say the two distinctions above are older and richer, by historical value alone.

Posted by Gabe | July 3, 2008 11:31 AM

er, I meant @94...not trying to talk to myself. Also not trying to sound like a jerk, just pointing out that Seattle was robbed of the chance to bring in an NHL team and revive some of that history in favor of the Sonics...who are now leaving us with no NBA or NHL.

Posted by Gabe | July 3, 2008 11:40 AM

Hey Josh Feit,

You've read the settlement wrong, in regards to getting the $30 million payment.

Let me see if I can un-"huh?" you.

Here's how it goes down:

The City gets a check for $45 million now and the team owned by the OKC fellows gets to move (and, more importantly to them, gets to start selling tickets in OKC.)

Then, in order to get the additional $30 million payment...the process for funding a Key Arena renovation would have to be in place by the end of 2009...AND...we would have to NOT get an NBA team by 2013.

Put another way, if we get a plan to pay to renovate the Key and we get an NBA team by 2013, we don't get the $30 million.

Ironically, it reads as an incentive for Clay Bennett to suddenly become head cheerleader for the "Let's put an NBA team back in Seattle" campaign, as that would save him $30 mil.

It also works as a comforting pat on the back for those who would blanch at planning on renovating the Key without a guarantee of an NBA team coming, "Either we get a team or we get $30 million."

Nickels yesterday said that he wouldn't actually begin to renovate the Key until we got a clear commitment on a new team--which leads me to believe that instead of a being promised a guilt-free expansion team, that Stern has given him an under-the-table promise for support in luring New Orleans, Memphis, Orlando, Charlotte or whatever city's NBA fanbase gets the public screw job next.

The BEST situation--of someone of means (e.g. Ballmer, Muckleshoots, et al) actually ponying up their own money to build their own stadium, rather than constantly doing the "public funded renovation = bad lease = owners demanding more renovations" dance--ALSO means giving up on the $30 million.

Best for everyone to just forget about the $30 million. The only way we get it is as a consolation prize for trying some more and failing again.

...and that would be the one thing worse for everyone in Seattle, NBA fans and NBA haters alike.

Posted by pgreyy | July 3, 2008 12:24 PM

Ahhh fuck, bleary eyes made me read your post wrong, Josh.

My bad...I read it again and you got it right.

Ignore, ignore, ignore.

Posted by pgreyy | July 3, 2008 12:26 PM

Sheesh. Only two facts are really germane:

1. Major League sports has set up a business model that requires taxpayers in cities to build business venues for teams and then effectively give those venues to private team owners. For a number of reasons (mostly craven politicians and media companies) enough cities go along with the scam to keep the model afloat.

2. Seattle voters chose to ban such scams after the baseball and football team owners got their latest package but before the basketball team owners did.

Given those two facts, Seattle was going to lose the NBA team.

What will be interesting will be when the baseball and football venues are due for massive upgrades next time around. Will the Seattle initiative stay in force? If so (and I hope it does), those teams will also leave for more gullible pastures.

Posted by Fritz | July 3, 2008 12:41 PM

@99, sort of. I-91 insisted upon a rate of return for any public investment equal or greater than the 30-year Treasury. There are probably a million ways to interpret this. So no, Seattle didn't ban public investment in sports arenas.

More than anything, I think, I-91 said that the public had no interest in funding sports arenas, so I think the public legitimacy of the funding would be more a hurdle than the actual initiative language.

Posted by joykiller | July 3, 2008 1:07 PM

David Stern, Howard Bennett, Howard Schultz, The Seattle Times, etc; ya'll can take a long walk off a short pier. Local voters have been sick and tired of sport franchise extortion schemes for some time now. Maybe it'll start a trend across the rest of the country.

Nickels and Gregoire would be politically wise to STFU about getting another team here.

Posted by Sloegin | July 3, 2008 1:36 PM

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