The Seattle NBA basketball team will start moving to Oklahoma City this morning and will begin playing in the Ford Center this fall under terms of a settlement agreement announced Wednesday. “We made it,” said Oklahoma City investor Clay Bennett at a 7 p.m. news conference. “Congratulations. The NBA will be in Oklahoma City next season playing their games.” “The move begins tomorrow morning,” he said. “It begins with the most important piece of our organization. It begins with our players.” The SuperSonics name and colors will remain in Seattle. A new name for the Oklahoma City team will be announced “soon,” Bennett promised. The settlement reached between the city and the team could require team owners to pay the city up to $75 million to break the lease at Seattle’s KeyArena and move to Oklahoma City, according to the agreement reached Wednesday. Bennett and other owners agreed to pay Seattle $45 million now to break its lease. Under the agreement, the team will pay another $30 million to Seattle if the Washington Legislature by the end of 2009 approves funding for a new building for a NBA team or for renovation of the KeyArena but Seattle fails to get a team in five years. If the Legislature doesn't provide funding, the team doesn't owe the $30 million. If the Legislature does provide funding and Seattle gets a new team in five years, the team will not owe the additional money. “I hope that we don't get the second $30 million. I hope we get a basketball team back in Seattle,” Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels said. The NBA issued a news release assuring Seattle officials that KeyArena could be renovated to meet NBA standards if public funding is approved and that the NBA would support the location of a team in Seattle if a franchise becomes available and the renovations have been done. Bennett acknowledged that a separate lawsuit is still out there by the teams' former owners. That lawsuit asks a federal judge to rescind the sale. Bennett called the lawsuit baseless but said Seattle will refund half of the $45 million payment if the team has to return to Seattle's KeyArena for one more year because of the lawsuit, and must refund the full $45 million if the team is forced to play there two more years. Bennett said tickets to games for Oklahoma City’s new NBA team will be generally higher than they were for Hornets games, but promised there will still be affordable seats. Bennett said all home regular season games will be played in Oklahoma City, but talks are in progress that would allow some preseason games to be played in Tulsa. The local chamber of commerce will assist the team in dealing with people interested in employment or establishing vendor relationships with the team, Bennett said. U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman was expected to rule Wednesday whether the Oklahoma City-owned team could buy out the last two years of a lease at KeyArena, which is controlled by the city of Seattle. Early Wednesday afternoon, word leaked that Seattle and the team owners were negotiating some type of settlement. Before the trial, Sonics owners offered the city more than $26 million to get out of the lease. At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Pechman issued an order saying the two sides had come to a settlement. Seattle leaders filed the lawsuit last fall to keep the Sonics from moving to Oklahoma City. Sonics owners argued that KeyArena was no longer a competitive NBA venue and was at the root of the team's financial problems, which began before Bennett and others bought the team in 2006. During the six-day trial the city claimed the owners couldn't buy out the last two years of the lease because a dollar figure couldn't be put on the value that the 41-year-old franchise brings to the city. Witnesses, including Bennett, estimated during the trial that the team could lose upwards of $60 million over the last two years of the lease. The Sonics' lead attorney, Brad Keller, argued that the relationship between the city and the owners was a failed marriage and that the Sonics shouldn't be forced to stay under the city's roof for the final two years when a financial remedy was available. The owners also contended in their case that the city's lawsuit was part of a plan to keep the Sonics in Seattle and hurt them financially so they would consider selling the team to a group of Seattle-area investors. The goal all along of the city's legal fight to enforce the KeyArena lease was to ensure some sort of future for NBA basketball in Seattle, City Council President Richard Conlin said Wednesday. Mayor Nickels said a group led by Microsoft mogul Steve Ballmer will immediately begin exploring options to bring a new team to Seattle.