Sonics Are Out of Here

It looks like the Sonics are going to be gone before their lease at KeyArena expires in 2010.
I don’t know what else you can read into the latest comments made by NBA Commissioner David Stern during the All-Star break in New Orleans.
Eric Williams, former sportswriter at The Sun who now covers the Sonics for the Tacoma News Tribune, said all that’s left is for the city and the Sonics to negotiate a price. The Sonics offered a reported $26.5 million last week. The city turned it down, but Williams said you should consider that the first step in the negotiating process.
“Folks in the press row have been sending along their condolences to myself and Seattle P-I reporter Gary Washburn, as the grim reality approaches that this could very well be the team’s last year in Seattle,” Williams wrote in his blog from New Orleans.
The city of Seattle says it’s going to hold the team to its final two years of the contract, but it makes no sense to have a lame duck franchise for two more years.
The odds are against anybody riding in on a white horse to save the day. Stern and Sonics owner Clay Bennett are set on moving the team to Oklahoma City. And when it comes to the NBA, the iron-fisted Stern always, it seems, gets what he wants.
Now, maybe, just maybe, there’s a chance Seattle could wind up with the Charlotte Bobcats or New Orleans Hornets. Those franchises are failing in their present locations.
But it’s going to take a new arena — not a remodel of KeyArena — to do it. The current building is an excellent place to watch a game, but isn’t up to the new standards of the NBA business world.
You can get all sappy and sentimental about losing a franchise that’s been here for 40 years, but it’s not going to do any good. Don’t over-analyze or think what if? This is simply about the money. When it comes to big-time college and professional sports, or any kind of business for that matter, it always is, isn’t it?

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