I knew it would happen. I knew…it…would…happen. Welcome to my world. As soon as I hit the button to publish my last post about how they were going to announce it late in the afternoon/early evening, I got a call informing me that a decision had been made. The call came at 5:41 p.m. It’s now 10 p.m. Maybe I can leave the OSU pressroom now.
Anyway, Judge Martinez made his ruling. You can read about it here. The case is staying in court. Attorneys for the Sonics still have hope that they can lose the battle but win the war.
“The Sonics ownership group is pleased that there has been a prompt decision,” a statement read. “It’s important to note that the decision addresses the forum in which the dispute will be decided, not the merits of the case. The Sonics owners are confident that they can perform their financial obligations under the lease and that the city is not entitled to specific performance.”
Confident or not, after reading the judge’s order, I don’t think the Sonics are coming — until 2010. If you read Judge Ricardo Martinez’s order, found here, he sounds like he whole-heartedly feels that the Sonics should have to honor the commitment they made by staying and playing in KeyArena until 2010, in other words enforcing specific performance. He seems to me to be a stickler. That’s not good news for the Sonics owners, whose attorneys must be sweating bullets right now.
I expect this case to be drawn out for as long as the city can stretch it. Here’s an idea for Clay & Co. if they really wanted to move the team next season. Apply for relocation in November. Allow the litigation to proceed for a few weeks, maybe months to allow the city to save face and act like they fought as hard as they could. Then make the city an offer it can’t refuse. Open up your checkbooks, break out the pens and begin writing. Don’t even negotiate. Start high and when you think that’s high enough increase it by about $20 million. That should do it.
And here’s an idea for the city if it wants to keep the Sonics…..Build them an arena. (Although I fully understand why their officials are opposed to it.)