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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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Posted by Mark WS

8:38 PM, Feb 28, 2008

I have to agree 100% with Sims. Anyone with a shred of business sense can see that Clay-Clay should keep the team with 6 1st rounders and Kevin Durant, why mess with an expansion team or another city's trash? Clay-Clay doesn't need or care about money, he has billions at his disposal, losing a few mil here and there creates a convenient write off. He wants to be the OKC hero, and there is nothing to stop him. It will happen either next season, or in two years and he will wait it out. All the emotional Seattle rage is pointless anymore. Its best to keep the NBA spirit alive, try to attract another franchise, or an expansion team. The city may as well take $75 mil from Clay-Clay and move on.

The only speck of light left is if there is some type of clause with regards to "legitimate effort to keep the team in Seattle" that might have been written into the purchase agreement, with stipulations and performance requirements. Otherwise, Clay-Clay sent a Sonic rep to Olympia, he pleaded, he asked; requirement met.

Time to move on Sonic fans, this team is his-t-o-r-y. Lets try for a new team. And no its not "giving up", its moving on. There's always another fish in the sea.

Posted by Raul

10:27 PM, Feb 28, 2008

The Hornets would be a more viable option to succeed in OKC. The team will win right away plus that city is attached to those players. That's who the fans want.

Posted by Al

2:55 AM, Feb 29, 2008

Those investors should go make offers for the Hornets, since they're the only team that can opt-out of its lease.

Then, negotiate a franchise swap with Bennett. This is a very realistic scenario provided a Seattle-area investment group manages to gain ownership of the Hornets. It satisfies the interests of all parties involved (NBA, Bennett, OKC). Obviously, the people of New Orleans would get screwed, but that's likely to happen anyway at some point down the road.

There's also the possibility that if the lease is enforced for another two years, a different team tries to beat Bennett to OKC. For example, if Shinn (Hornets owner) decides to try and move the team to OKC while Bennett is still stuck here, Clay will be completely screwed. His best option then would be to do everything he can to get Shinn to sell him the Hornets, and sell the Sonics to the Seattle investors.

Posted by Boycott Nike

6:35 AM, Feb 29, 2008

1) Why is anyone interested in supporting a business (the NBA) that handles itself this way?
2) Didn't Stern say that if the Sonics left Seattle would not get another team?

Posted by Bennett 69Schultz

7:52 AM, Feb 29, 2008

I like Al's idea - although it's laced with crack. To listen to Sims is disheartening and I don't know about you people, but I don't want any other franchise, regardless of David Stern relents on his verbal horseshit or not. Bennett is a crook - Stern is a crook. The NBA is in this with Bennett to steal this team - and we get 4 comments following the blog post while the M's get 50 wondering how many pitches Morrow threw on the side in his bullpen session yesterday. It's plain that there is little to no public outcry and that is the reason Sims is reserved to them being gone...but if that's true, forget the other franchise - why bother? A team is not a team...

Formerly PayClayBennett

Posted by chucky

8:56 AM, Feb 29, 2008

Where were all these local ownership groups when Shultz was busy selling out to Clay-Clay?

Seems like we could have averted this tragedy if someone would have stepped in BEFORE it was a lost cause! I mean, does Seattle always have to wait til the very end instead of being proactive about something?

Pissed off Sonics Fan

Posted by mike

9:08 AM, Feb 29, 2008

I honestly don't want to steal a team from another city. Let's get a new one or none. Think of how all of us have felt by having our team ripped out from under us. I don't want to do that to someone else.

Posted by Mark WS

9:22 AM, Feb 29, 2008

No one else can go into OKC at this point except Clay-Clay. After he So filed his move, there was a 45 day window, and after that he has exclusive rights now to that market. Shinn thought about it too late, after the window expired. So that option went out the window.

The Hornets might be an option, but I can't see Shinn coming to Seattle, so it would have to be a 3-way. OKC loves the Hornets, who wouldn't? They are playing great ball, they have identified with OKC already and the team isn't being blown up.

Softies tv ratings over the last 10 years for The Final's was pretty interesting. I'd think Stern would be a little leery if OKC makes a Final....

Posted by JR

9:32 AM, Feb 29, 2008

I can understand what everyone is saying, but what I don't understand is how the three officials cannot even agree. Nickels is trying to keep the team here and Sims says the idea is flawed. How about this, how about our city/county/state officials get on the same page and make PROGRESS!?!?!

Look at the Seattle Viaduct. I took A YEAR!!! for the trifecta of indecision to make a decision. I bet you anything Clay is sitting in OKC shaking his head that we are such a CLUSTER up here.

A month ago everyone wanted to Sonics to go... now there is a fight to keep them.

Posted by Crow

10:29 AM, Feb 29, 2008

Speaking of "speck of light", new official "Sonics" site has a map of NBA cities with light dots and guess what? Seattle isn't on the map! (at least at this moment)

http://www.nba.com/sonics/index_main.html#/news/gamecoverage

Posted by eric k

10:39 AM, Feb 29, 2008

It would be great irony if we can keep the Sonics name, then NO gets out of their lease. We'd get to watch the Chris Paul led Sonics compete with the Blazers to be the top team in the west the next several years while OK gets to watch Durant/Green and a bunch of rookies. Any odds on how fast Durant bolts as a FA from OK to a major market? I'd say 5 seconds after he is eligible

Posted by Gordie

10:44 AM, Feb 29, 2008

Maybe someone on the Sonics offended Sims by wishing him a Merry Christmas, so he's more than happy to show them out the door. :)

Posted by Crow

11:42 AM, Feb 29, 2008

Maybe there wasn't a need for a functional "light" / button on the "game coverage" map I referred to but what other franchise would leave a map totally devoid of any indicator of its city / its place in the NBA universe?

Posted by ragpappy

11:50 AM, Feb 29, 2008

HAHA.. The Denver dot looks like in OKC..

Posted by David

12:44 PM, Feb 29, 2008

When the Sonics leave, the best option for a team in Seattle is just down I-5. The Blazers actually have more ties to Seattle than do the Sonics.

Owner - Allen
Coach - Mac10
Star - Roy
Supporting players - Webster

Keep the Sonics logo, bring Allen's team home as the new Sonics, and then bring the Hornets to Portland.

Lots of movement but it all fits. Then Allen, already invested in the Center, is here to work with his city in arena renovations.

That is what we call a win-win-win. Clay-clay gets his team and we lost Clay-clay. We get Allen and his team and Shin has a fantastic city for his team.

Go BLAZERS (to Seattle)

Posted by mickey

1:34 PM, Feb 29, 2008

My grandfather and Father took me to my first Sonics game in 1967. I took my son to his first Sonics game in 1979. My son and I took my Grandson to his first Sonic game in 2005.

When the Sonics leave I will not attend anymore NBA games in Seattle. Ever. I do not want to see Seattle steal somebody else's team like the Sonics are being stolen from us.

I'll be content with the Huskies and the Storm.

Posted by 206er

2:11 PM, Feb 29, 2008

i actually agree. IF sims is right and they're gone. lets keep the name, logo, and histiry here! in a couple years we'd get the sonics back. it would just be different players

Posted by Brent

2:12 PM, Feb 29, 2008

More feedback about the Sonics on espn.com

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/080229&sportCat=nba

I sure hope the City keeps the rights to the Sonics and all the team records.

Posted by Cybrsouljah

5:10 PM, Feb 29, 2008

The Sonics are going, going, gone ! Get over it Sonics fans ! Get ready to cheer for the Oklahoma City Soncs !

Posted by Goodbye

9:05 AM, Mar 01, 2008

The only one cheering for the Oklahoma dust bowlers will be a minute group of people. Enjoy your crappy team, coach, and management... You think you'll be on ABC, ESPN, or TNT? I doubt it. The majority of Bball fans will just shrug your team off and say who gives a crap about Oklahoma city?

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