Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire has joined NBA Commissioner David Stern in his belief that the relocation of the Seattle SuperSonics to Oklahoma City is inevitable. Gregoire, speaking to reporters in Olympia, Wash., on Friday, said a conversation with Sonics chairman Clay Bennett convinced her that there is no saving the franchise. "He made it very clear to me and not in a nasty way at all, in his words, unequivocally, ‘Not for sale,' ” Gregoire told The Seattle Times. "At some point, we have to accept that.” Gregoire's comments came one day after Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels announced a $300 million financial plan to remodel KeyArena and a Seattle-based investor group that is willing to cover half the costs. Under the plan, the City of Seattle and the state would each fund $75 million of the project. The plan, which was heavily dependant on the Sonics' Oklahoma-based ownership group selling the franchise, was immediately met with reservations by the state legislature. Washington lawmakers balked mostly at the last-minute proposal, which would have to be approved before the legislature adjourns Thursday. "There is absolutely no chance of us considering it this legislative session,” Rep. Jeff Morris told the Seattle Post Intelligencer. The Seattle-based investor group is led by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and includes Costco CEO Jim Sinegal, Seattle developer Matt Griffin and former Sonics part owner John Stanton. Although Gregoire said the local interest "has dramatically changed the temperature in the Legislature,” she added that the state shouldn't aid their cause as long as Bennett refuses to sell. "If there's no opportunity for them to buy a team at this point, there's no point for the Legislature to do anything this session,” Gregoire told The Seattle Times.
Gov. Chris GregoireBelieves Sonics' move to OKC is inevitable.