SEATTLE — A local group of investors has offered to buy the Seattle SuperSonics to keep the city's oldest major league professional sports franchise from being moved to Oklahoma City.
The group headed by Dennis H. Daugs, a private wealth manager and managing director of Lakeside Capital Management LLC, issued a news release Friday saying the group had written a formal letter of interest to Sonics chairman Clay Bennett, who also owns the Seattle Storm of the WNBA. "We want to recapture the spirit and love of basketball in Seattle by bringing the Sonics and Storm back to local ownership,” said Daugs, a former minority owner of the NBA franchise. The statement did not identify anyone else in the group, nor would Daugs give that information Thursday in an interview with The Seattle Times. Also unclear was how much the group would be willing to bid. Bennett, who bought the Sonics from a local group headed by Starbucks Coffee chairman Howard Schultz for $350 million last year, has said the club is not for sale. Schultz's group paid $200 million for the franchise in 2001. Bennett, unhappy as was Schultz with Key Arena, threatened to move the club unless agreement was reached to build a new stadium by Wednesday. He has not issued a statement on the future of the club since the deadline passed. "This town loves the Sonics and Storm,” Daugs said in the statement. "We have a genuine appreciation of the fan base. We respect the many loyal fans and we want to build a populist movement to keep the teams here. We believe there is strong local support for the Sonics and Storm.”