Q: Oklahoma City is being heavily scrutinized for the Sonics filing for relocation here. Do you feel like you're expected to apologize for what's transpired? Cornett: I almost feel like I need to say, ‘I'm not going to apologize.' There are only 30 of these franchises in the world. They're highly valued, and there aren't enough cities to go around. Ten years ago, we were on the other side of the deal with the NHL (bidding for an expansion franchise). That's the way it goes. General Motors shut down two years ago in Oklahoma City, not because we did anything wrong. It wasn't because vehicles weren't being built correctly. It was because of the worldwide demand of SUVs. That wasn't fair to us, but it was a business. People understand that businesses relocate. Businesses open and close and you deal with it. This happens all the time. Q: How frustrating is all this anger toward Oklahoma City when the city didn't seek out the Hornets or Sonics? Cornett: We never identified a team and went for them from the city's standpoint. What we did was everything we needed to do. We proved we could support a team, the Hornets, when they came here. It was November of 2005 when commissioner David Stern said we were at the top of the relocation list. So here's a team that's ready to relocate and they chose us. That shouldn't surprise anybody. Q: Now what? Cornett: I think patience is the key word for us. This (filing for relocation) is a step in the process. Gosh, I can't tell you how many times I've heard a franchise was going somewhere else, and they ended up not going anywhere. You've just got to understand that's the way things are. You can't get a relocated franchise until someone else has an intention to relocate. This is definitely a step in that direction. Q: When do you start thinking about setting aside dates at the Ford Center, finding a team headquarters, those type things? Cornett: We need to determine what's appropriate and what's not. We haven't been through this process before. I'm not going to pretend I know what the next step is. I want to handle it correctly and make sure the city handles it correctly, and we don't create legal exposure for ourselves. But I think at some point those are the types of steps that have to be taken. Q: Sonics chairman Clay Bennett said Friday morning now is when a comprehensive relationship between the Sonics and Oklahoma City will begin. What will that entail? Cornett: I don't know. Obviously, Clay and I haven't talked about that. That's one of the things I'll be talking to the league about, ‘What should my relationship be with an owner once he's filed for relocation?' Q: You're still tempering your reaction. When do people around here get to stand and cheer? Cornett: I would think when the courts resolve their issues and the NBA board of governors has voted up or down. Those are two necessary steps. At city hall, we won't be celebrating until there's a signed lease. That's when we can take a deep breath. Compiled by John Rohde
Mick CornettThe Oklahoma City mayor says they won't be celebrating at city hall until there's a signed lease.