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Stern impressed by city's support

By Darnell Mayberry and Berry Tramel Modified: March 6, 2008 at 12:11 am •  Published: March 6, 2008
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lahoma City residents passed the measure by a 62 percent to 38 percent margin, and Cornett said Stern told him the city's sizable support should impress the NBA.

It's unclear how many owners will be in attendance from the seven-member relocation committee. The committee is made up of the Miami Heat's Mickey Arison, the Los Angeles Lakers' Jerry Buss, the Golden State Warriors' Chris Cohan, the New Jersey Nets' Lewis Katz, the Indiana Pacers' Herb Simon, the Philadelphia 76ers' Ed Snider and the San Antonio Spurs' Peter Holt.

NBA spokesman Tim Frank called the visit to Oklahoma City a standard procedural matter for relocating franchises. Only three NBA franchises have relocated since 1985, the Kansas City Kings to Sacramento, the Vancouver Grizzlies to Memphis and the Charlotte Hornets to New Orleans. The Kings and Grizzlies received unanimous support by the league owners while owners voted 28-1 in favor of the Hornets' move.

Sonics Chairman Clay Bennett said the group is expected to take a comprehensive tour of the Ford Center and view a thorough presentation of the arena's planned improvements. The relocation committee will also be presented with ideas and concepts of the off-site practice facility and meet with the city's business leaders "to discuss business issues for the franchise,” Bennett said.

When asked if the Sonics' ownership group had any concerns over the committee's visit, Bennett pointed to their potential concern over Oklahoma City's market size.

"Clearly we're a smaller market,” Bennett said. "We need to make the case we'll be viable, sustainable and will be an additive to the league.”