Had a couple of interesting conversations today for a story I did for Wednesday’s paper about the Oct. 31 deadline. Tom Carr, the Seattle City Attorney, had some interesting things to say regarding the matter. You can read all about it right here. But here are a few quotes from Carr.
“It doesn’t mean anything to us,” Carr said about the deadline. “That’s their thing not ours. We intend to hold them to their lease. They’re going to be in Seattle until at least September of 2010 if we can (win in) court. The deadline was one imposed by Mr. Bennett. We’ve tried to talk to him in good faith and he’s refused to return out phone calls.
We have offered to negotiate with Mr. Bennett, but he isn’t interested. He actually blew off my mayor, who offered him $100 million, which is beyond insulting.”
When asked if anythiing could bring an early end to the litigation process Carr had this to say… “Mr. Bennett coming to his senses would help. But he’s determined to move that team.”
I also spoke with OKC Mayor Mick Cornett. He is trying his best to stay out of it. And doing a great job I might add. He won’t even mention the Sonics by name. He said OKC has no role in determining the future of the Sonics, even though the owners are expected to apply with the NBA any day now to relocate here. Here are some of his statements… “I don’t necessarily know, not having been through that process before, about what would be appropriate and what would not be. Once the league tells me that a team has filed for relocation, I think I would ask them, ‘What are the appropriate steps now for a city to take with regard to that ownership group?”
And lastly, Dan Mahoney, a spokesman for the Sonics ownership group released a statement Tuesday about the Oct. 31 deadline. It reads….”Mr. Bennett and the ownership group want the focus to be on Sonics basketball and the opening of the regular season. On Nov. 2nd, he will have further comment on the organization’s next steps.”
I don’t have a clue what those next steps are. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he soon announced his intentions to file for relocation. Especially when I connect the dots back to this statement, sent out Monday by the team’s attorneys…”The Sonics owners are confident that they can perform their financial obligations under the current lease and that the city of Seattle is not entitled to specific performance.”
I think Seattle has the upperhand right now, based off the order sent out by the Washington judge Monday. But this thing could play out so many different ways. I also think the city of Seattle will take a buyout and are going through the motions to save face from a PR standpoint. The current officials don’t want to be remembered as the politicians who lost the NBA. The issue continues…
I’m headed to Seattle Wednesday morning to cover the team’s home opener on Thursday. I’m planning to hit a number of places in and around the area and write stories, blogs and record video on what I see and hear.