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February 28, 2008 7:47 PM

Sims to Sonics fans: "They're gone."

Posted by Percy Allen

During a 12-minute interview with KJR-AM (950), King County Executive Ron Sims made it clear that he believes the Sonics are leaving Seattle and chairman Clay Bennett will move the team to Oklahoma City this year or in 2010.

He also said there's three local investors interested in owning a team in the Seattle area, but no one believes that team will be the Sonics. Sims said two of the three investors would back a privately financed arena and the third wants to refurbish KeyArena.

Here's a few excerpts from the interview with Dave Mahler.

Sims: "I don't see much movement right now to make the commitment to keep them here. ... I think they're gone.

"There are three different groups that are organized to keep them here.

"It's not an issue about whether I want to keep them here or not. I supported legislation last year, the year before and this year in an effort to keep them in Seattle, but if I'm looking at the cards I just think it will go to trial. Even if they have to keep them here two more years, I suspect Clay would hold on to that team and take then down to Oklahoma City when he has a chance.

"I don't see the NBA blocking his move if he chooses to do that. The issue is where else can you get a team.

"All three ownership groups are looking at other NBA franchises or a new one. They are not talking about the Sonics. I think the writing is on the wall.

"We think there are other teams that are actually looking for places, the same thing that Clay is doing, and the issue is how can we make that attractive here.

"Clay doesn't want to be here and the NBA isn't going to keep him from leaving here. That's just factually correct. Owners run the organization. Even the people right now who are trying to land a NBA franchise here do not believe the Sonics will be that franchise. ... All of them believe whoever they buy next will be another franchise or a new one."

Some on the court news ...

The Sonics are considering signing a point guard to a 10-day contract because Earl Watson (upper respiratory infecton) and Luke Ridnour (right hamstring soreness) are not 100 percent healthy. Watson missed the past two games and Ridnour sat out the second half on Wednesday. Both returned to practice Thursday and are listed as probable for Friday's game against Miami.

If the Sonics waive anybody, it will probably be newcomer Ira Newble or C Francisco Elson. They don't have guaranteed contracts next season. F Adrian Griffin, is another possibilty. His contract next season is partially guaranteed.

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