Sonics, Hornets & Grizzlies
There was news out of Washington this weekend when Gov. Chris Gregoire told Seattle reporters that at some point city and state leaders in Seattle and Washington have to accept that the Sonics are not for sale.
Times columnist Steve Kelley had this piece in today’s paper, calling out state lawmakers to step up and provide their needed $75 million of the $300 million financial plan Seattle officials announced last week in hopes of a local group purchasing the franchise from Bennett and his partners.
Along those same lines, more than 250 fans rallied on the state capitol steps in Olympia yesterday. In this Seattle Times story, state leaders are quoted as saying no money will be provided before the current session ends Thursday.
As for the Hornets, owner George Shinn is now interested in renegotiating a 10-year lease just two months after he reached a deal with the state on a five-year extension. Shinn, in this Times-Picayune story, said he would sign a 10-year lease agreement without exit clauses if the state includes yearly financial incentives in a new deal. Under the current deal, Shinn can opt out of the team’s lease next season if the team’s average attendance isn’t at least 14,735 by the end of next season.
In other Hornets news, the much maligned television dispute that has kept a good portion of New Orleans area residents blacked out from Hornets games on Cox has reached a solution. Why is this important? Many fans in New Orleans thought the team’s early dismal attendance (among a lot of other things) was mostly a result of thousands of fans not being able to see how good the team is. With this deal now squared away, the hope in New Orleans is that attendance will increase and that 14,735 benchmark will become a realistic goal.
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