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Sonics have hearing; decision forthcoming

By Darnell Mayberry Published: October 18, 2007
(Judge Martinez) just listened. I don’t think he showed a prejudice to one side or another. I don’t think you would go away (from the hearing) saying, ‘Wow. This is a slam dunk for someone. Or, wow, our side won or our side lost. I think you just have to wait and see what happens.”

Meanwhile, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Thursday that the American Arbitration Association declined to hear the Sonics’ case in Denver as the team had requested in the event Martinez rules that the case is arbitrable.

Seattle officials are arguing that the Sonics should not be allowed to vacate KeyArena until their Premises Use and Occupancy Agreement expires in 2010. Attorneys for the Sonics contend the city should not be able to force the franchise to remain at KeyArena if the team fulfills its financial payments for the remaining years of the arena contract.

Sonics chairman Clay Bennett has said he would apply with the NBA for relocation to Oklahoma City if a plan for a new publicly-funded arena is not available in Washington by Oct. 31.