Legislator sees little hope that Sonics will remain in Seattle

By Darnell Mayberry Published: August 14, 2007
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/> "Aubrey expressed his personal thoughts and, in context of the story, was not speaking on behalf of the ownership group,” Bennett said. "It is my hope we will see a breakthrough in the next 60 days that will result in securing a new arena for the Sonics and Storm in the Greater Seattle area.”

But with 78 days days remaining before the deadline, Prentice said she doesn't see many viable options.

"Clay Bennett could have had an agreement, and they would have been here,” Prentice said. "And there was a sliver of hope, and I don't know if it's all gone now. But Clay Bennett went to great lengths to try to reach an agreement. And he agreed to a lot of things that he was never even given the chance to present to the legislature. He and I know that's true.

"We should have had it. We could have had it. And I guess it's still possible. Barely. If anybody's in the mood to talk.”

Among the remaining options Prentice suggested still available to get an arena deal done is a pending meeting between Bennett and Washington governor Chris Gregoire, who Prentice said has shown interest in keeping the Sonics in Seattle. But the proposed deal from the Seattle-area Muckleshoot Tribe, which has offered to build a nearby arena adjacent its casino property in suburban Auburn, is not a feasible option, Prentice said.

"Well, they have gambling and the NBA has made it clear that the NBA and gambling don't mix,” Prentice said. "So there's just some possibilities here that just won't work.

"What we really needed was somebody higher than me to have come out (in support) for it,” she said. "Because I've said more than once... people above me needed to show some energy behind it, and it seemed as though just about the time we were going to get it, somebody else would flake off.”