Hoopless in Seattle

Categories: seattle — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — Posted by: steveg @ July 3, 2008 : 12:15 pm

It’s D-Day plus one. The city of Seattle settled their lawsuit with the Sonics ownership group only a few minutes from Judge Pechman’s decision on the case.

Right now, Clay Bennett is probably singing the lyrics to a famous John Denver song. “All my bags are packed. I’m ready to go.? Bennett stated in his press conference that the relocation will commence immediately with the Sonics players being the first to move to OK City. In the most appropriate fashion, thunder and lightning dominate the sky as if God himself is not pleased by the outcome of the Sonics leaving the city.

Mayor Nickels, Nick Licatta, and Frank Chopp are also singing, but it’s the lyrics to another song. “MONEY! MONEY! MONEY! MON-NEH!,? as the city got $45 million out of the deal with Bennett’s group. Another $30 million is expected to be received in 2013, if the state legislature approves $75 million in funding by next year and the city fails to bring in another team.

After hearing about this, I’ve only got one thing to say.

You have got to be f***ing kidding me.

During the opening statement of the city’s Paul Lawrence stated that the value of the Sonics in Seattle could not be quantified, there’s no price tag you could put on it.

Not according to Mayor Nickels. $45 million sounded pretty good to him. Now the city walks back with its tail between its legs and its wallet jammed packed with money.

In a press conference at 5pm yesterday, Mayor Nickels stated that he is confident that this is the best opportunity for keeping the NBA is Seattle. That’s just doesn’t make sense at all to me. To keep the NBA in Seattle, we have to let it leave. Now I know of that elegant old statement “If you truly love something, let it go, if it comes back it’s yours,? but that just doesn’t apply in this case. Don’t believe me, just give Kansas City a call. It’s been a long time since the Kings packed up their bags and headed up to Sac-town and they still don’t have an NBA team. New Orleans just recently got a team after the Jazz left in 1979. 1979!!

Only way a team is going to get here is if a team goes up for sale or the league creates another expansion team. Stern has already been stated on the record as saying that “the league is not looking towards expanding domestically.? So essentially, we need to have the blind faith of someone like Kevin Costner in the Field of Dreams. “Build it and they will come.? That’s a lot of good faith for the tax payers, the politicians, and the fans. And as we’ve seen recently in the NBA, the word “good faith? does not go a long way around these parts or Oklahoma City.

The NBA and David Stern as a commissioner is a pathetic joke as well. Several months ago they said that a renovated arena could not work as a viable venue for an NBA franchise. No less than 5 minutes after the settlement is reached, the plans are perfectly fine for an NBA team. It just shows you that the league and commissioner don’t really care about the fans, the history and the emotional attachment. 41 years ago, a burgeoning basketball league asked the city to make an emotional investment. We did. Now that same league is abandoning us making our investment amount to nothing but pain and anguish.

The whole situation reminds me of a sunflower plant that was given to an acquaintance of my by his ex-girlfriend. After a long period of neglect, it turned extremely brown and just died. He tried to revive it, putting it out on the deck and watering it, but we all knew it was already too late. Much like the Sonics situation, the people who could have done the most to save the team, stepped in way too late to keep the team here. All of this could have been prevented if people like Howard Schultz, Governor Gregoire, and Mayor Nickels, had a little bit more patience and the vision to see what would happen. Now all the politicians are on the hot seat, especially Gregoire who’s up for re-election. With such a close win in her last campaign, there’s enough Sonics’ fans to make her chances doubtful. Awake a sleeping giant and it will crush you.

The only bright spot in this so-called victory for the city. (In my opinion, it’s more like a Pyrrhic victory) The city gets to retain all the memorabilia, name, records, and trophies from the Supersonics. Of course, OK City will have duplicates made that will be hanging in the Ford Center. Bennett referred to them as “assets we want to have.? And therein lies the problem, he’s a businessman who never cared one bit about the fans up here. He talks of a poisoned well, but he’s the person who tainted it in the first place.

We can get another team, but it’s never going to be the same. You can shatter a glass bottle, try to glue the pieces together, but it’ll never be the same bottle. The mayor talks of keeping hope alive for another NBA team, but in reality it’s really hopeless, or how the PI eloquently dubbed it “Hoopless.?

Highway Patrol To Pull Over Slow Left Lane Drivers

Categories: seattle — Tags: , , , — Posted by: Grant @ June 30, 2008 : 11:43 am

Don’t kill the messenger for relaying this interesting bit of news, but it looks like Washington State troopers will be pulling over slow drivers in the left lane. From the article:

“State troopers are on a mission to make sure the left lane on area freeways is used for its intended purpose: passing.

“We’re doing 58, 59 miles an hour and they are just sitting there, traffic’s passing them on the right hand side,” Trooper Keith Leary said while pointing out a car in the left lane of Interstate 5. “That’s exactly what we don’t want to see happen.”"

Even though I’m a fan of orderly driving, I do have to say that I’m not too surprised to hear what the highway patrol is doing. Having commonly observed Seattle drivers going 40-45 MPH in the left lane of traffic, I too, can imagine that it’s an accident waiting to happen. As most realistic drivers will attest, 65 to 75 MPH is the true speed of travel in the left lane, so even a vehicle moving at the speed limit will eventually cause a backup over the course of a few miles.

Steve and I both agree that being pulled over for going the speed limit is likely not going to hold up in traffic court, provided a sensible judge hears the case, but it will be interesting (to me) on what type of effect this has on Seattle traffic. In the city that is often called “too nice”, this will be like a prod in the collective butts of many left lane drivers.

When Sonics Owners Attack!

Categories: seattle — Tags: , , , , , — Posted by: steveg @ April 17, 2008 : 3:12 pm

Let the mud slinging begin!

It’s been a rough week for Bennett and the Professional Basketball Club LLC. After having disclosed emails that have hurt the effort of their current lawsuit with the City of Seattle, former ownership group led by Howard Schultz has filed for a breach of contract lawsuit to regain ownership of the team. Specials about the Sonics situation has sprung up on ESPN, as well as other national media outlets. Bad publicity is the only thing that PBC seems to get nowadays, but in today’s headline, they decided to strike back.

The Seattle Times and the P.I. have reported that Bennett and his ownership group are accusing the City of Seattle of working in collusion with Matt Griffin and his partners. In the new federal court filing, Bennett’s attorneys are stating that it is a clear attempt to bleed the ownership group dry to force a potential sale of the team to Griffin’s group.

The filing has specific asked for Matt Griffin to be involved in the litigation and publicly disclose documents regarding the City of Seattle that have been redacted for the sake of relevancy and privacy. In a simpler sense, PBC is trying to dismiss the case of the city of Seattle, by proving they had “unclean hands.?

Unclean hands is a affirmative defense legal doctrine that states a party who is asking for assistance from the courts cannot received if it he or she has done anything unethical in relation to the lawsuit filed. If Bennett’s group can prove that the City of Seattle has conducted itself in unethical manner such as filling a lawsuit with the intent of forcing a sale of the team to a local buyer, then the courts would dismiss this case. That decision would ultimately facilitate the move to OK City very rapidly.

This new move darkens the already murky waters of the Sonics situation and if the federal judge does approve of these filings, more dirty laundry of the City of Seattle and its government officials may come to light. Liars calling out liars seems to be the most appropriate phrase for this new development as it will be interesting to see how Bennett’s ownership group can manage both lawsuits at the same time while facilitating the potential move to Oklahoma City. The lawyer’s clock is running and the pay rate is not cheap.

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