Settlement of the Sonics lawsuit last week answered a lot of questions about Oklahoma's professional basketball future, but it left one big question unresolved.
How would federal judge Marsha Pechman have ruled if the city of Seattle and Sonics owners had not settled the case out of court?
Would she have required the team to play two more years in Seattle to fulfill the terms of a lease? Or would she have allowed the owners to buy their way out of the lease because of the dysfunctional relationship between the landlord and tenant?
Tension built for weeks as members of the public discussed what impact such things as a "man possessed” e-mail and "poisoned well” strategy might have on the decision of a federal judge.
The stakes were high — an NBA team.
Then — on the very day the judge's decision was to be announced — a settlement was announced instead.
So, how would Judge Pechman have ruled? The Oklahoman
left a voice mail on her answering machine last week in the hope that she would answer that question.
Monday she delivered a response through a law clerk.
"She is not going to reveal how she would have ruled,” the law clerk said.
A federal lawsuit, it seems, is like a game of poker.
If you want to see the cards, you have to play out the hand.