The Seattle SuperSonics' Oklahoma-based owners on Wednesday accused the city of Seattle of scheming with a potential purchaser to force them to sell.
The owners' attorneys told a federal judge they have found proof city leaders are pursuing a lawsuit only to drive up the owners' financial costs.
The attorneys said Seattle's mayor has admitted the lease at the KeyArena is bad economically for the team.
"So why is the City seeking to specifically enforce the last two years of this admittedly dysfunctional lease arrangement?” the attorneys wrote in a legal filing. "Documents just obtained show that the answer has nothing to do with the last two years of the lease. Instead, the City is trying to exploit its landlord status to force the PBC to sell the team.”
PBC is short for Professional Basketball Club LLC, the Oklahoma company that owns the team.
"This litigation and the recent media frenzy the City helped ignite are part of an agreed-upon strategy between the City and a potential purchaser of the Sonics,” the attorneys wrote. "That strategy expressly views this litigation as a way to drive up costs for the PBC — to increase the financial bleeding — to try to force PBC to sell.
Read Murray and Cantwell's letter sent to Stern
New legal filing with owners' accusations