Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Schultz v. Bennett

The lawsuit over the Seattle Supersonics has been officially filed. Cynical voices have deemed this little more than a publicity stunt for Howard Schultz, who has been the target of criticism for not selling to a local owner in the first place. When someone from an outside city buys a sports franchise it is a pretty good bet that they will try and move the team back home.

So the suit alleges that Schultz sold the team to Bennett with the condition that he try and keep the team in Seattle. Schultz knew what seemed obvious to everyone, Bennett wanted a team for Oklahoma City. Bennett was a part owner (investor?) in the San Antonio Spurs, part of the reason why Sam Presti and PJ Carlesimo were brought over from San Antonio. Bennett is also close with RC Buford, majority owner of the SA Spurs. Bennett was also tried to keep the new Orleans Hornets in Oklahoma City after Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans is the top team in the West, OKC wanted the Hornets, Sonics are the next best thing.

Stern also know Bennett. Stern doesn't want to move the Hornets out of New Orleans. If the NBA works for New Orleans and the owner wants to keep them there fine. That is the way it ought to be.

They have scuttled, aka rebuilding, the Sonics to erode fan support for the next couple of seasons. Sonics aren't going to be in the Playoffs in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.

Read these articles, it is pretty clear that Bennett made the deal with Schultz only to move the team or sell.

The Sonics don't deserve this. They have been pretty good citizens. Gary Payton, Detlef Schrempf, Rashard Lewis, Ray Allen, and Nate McMillan all made significant contributions to the community. It is true that we still had Ruben Patterson (sexual assault charges)and Dale Ellis (DUI, back in the 80s when a DUI was a lot tougher to get in WA).

Here are some supporting articles and some of the court documents. Pop some corn and get comfortable we're going to overtime.

ESPN - E-mails key in Schultz's suit to reverse Sonics sale - NBA

Seattle PI: Bennett knew he would flip team

Schultz suit filing

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