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Follow the Sonics off and on the court with reporters Percy Allen and Jayda Evans.

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April 25, 2008 4:22 PM

Josh Howard is a pothead

Posted by Percy Allen

Let's take a break from the Sonics' Law & Order proceedings and dive into the explosive admission from Josh Howard, who chronicled his use of marijuana this morning.

The Dallas Mavericks forward must have attended the Aubrey McClendon School of Public Relations.

How else can you explain the one-time All-Star going on the Michael Irvin radio show and openly discussing that he smokes marijuana in the offseason. He said it doesn’t effect his performance and he also said most players (in the NBA) do it.

You can hear his comments here.

Howard brushed off the admission as no big deal, but apparently he's unaware or forgot that smoking marijuana is against the law and it is against the NBA collective bargaining agreement.

No comment yet from owner Mark Cuban or coach Avery Johnson, who trail the New Orleans Hornets 0-2 in the Westernn Confernce first-round playoff series.

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April 24, 2008 4:51 PM

Clay Bennett deposed

Posted by Percy Allen

Paul Lawrence, a K&L Gates attorney representing the city's case against the Sonics, said he flew to Oklahoma City and deposed team chairman Clay Bennett on Wednesday.

He also said the city is seeking to depose NBA Commissioner David Stern, however, the league it attempting to block the subpoena. A hearing in federal court in New York is scheduled for Monday.

You can read Jim Brunner's story here.

Bennett's deposition may prove to be crucial in the city's case to force the team to honor its KeyArena lease through 2010. He likely had to explain the intent in e-mails in which he conversed with members of the ownership group about moving the Sonics to Oklahoma City before a 12-month deadliine after the July 2006 sale of the team.

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April 22, 2008 5:51 PM

Schultz files lawsuit

Posted by Percy Allen

A week ago, we broke the news that former Sonics owner Howard Schultz intended to file a lawsuit against the Sonics' onwership.

Well, today Schultz made good on his promise.

You can read our story here.

We'll file much more for Wednesday's newspaper and online editions.

I'm still gathering news and writing, but I can tell you this much, there's more juicy e-mails from chairman Clay Bennett that puts him in hot water once again. Amazing. This story never quits.

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April 21, 2008 11:34 AM

David Stern loves KeyArena *Updated 5:22 p.m.*

Posted by Percy Allen

OK, you knew there had to be a catch, right? Well, there is. A reader sent this clip to columinist Steve Kelley and I'm sharing it with everyone here.

There was a time not so long ago when NBA commissioner David Stern raved about KeyArena. When the building re-opened in 1995 after a $74.5 million renovation he called it "a very special" place.

After Friday's Board of Governors meeting, Stern had this to say about KeyArena: "It's the smallest footprint in the league with one of the lowest amounts of suites, the smallest amount of additional amenities and generally is not viewed in its current state as an arena that can support team on a going forward basis."

Also, check out the intrepid sideline reporter.

Here's another videoclip that's making the rounds.

***UPDATED 5:22 P.M.*** This is for Crow. Just did a quick check and I can't find the NBA Constitution anywhere on the Internet, which is not surprising because it's a private industry. And I'm not sure if any other news outlet has reported that the Sonics relocation approval expires after a year.

I did see that the Save Our Sonics website mentions the term limit on the approval.

Basically, here's what happened. The Sonics requested approval for location for the 2008-09, '09-10 and 10-11 seasons f the team is unable to resolve the KeyArena lease litigation this summer. The NBA's counsel told the relocation committee that Article 7 of the NBA Constitution does not permit approval of a relocation application for seasons other than the season following the application (in this case the '08-09 season).

The Board approved the move for next season and if the Sonics renew its application for either of the '09-10 or '10-11 seasons, the Board should approve the renewed application unless there's a major change in the circumstances.

It is interesting to note that the New Orleans Hornets reminded the Board of the Article 7 provision before the owners vote on Friday. No other team made any submissions regarding the Sonics' application.

I know there's a lot of technical phrases in there, but I'm quoting documents given to owners at last week's Board of Governors meeting.

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April 19, 2008 10:00 PM

Board of Governors leftovers

Posted by Percy Allen

Just combining through notes, transcripts and all of the stories from Friday's NBA Board of Governors meeting when I was reminded about this comical exchange between Commissioner David Stern and KING-TV reporter Chris Daniels.

Stern sometimes refers to himself in the third person as "Easy Dave," but Daniels clearly got under his skin with a tough line of questioning. It reminded me of the Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson scene in the film "A Few Good Men."

Anyway, here's the transcript.

Chris Daniels: "For all of the fans back in Seattle who are watching this live right now, what do you want to say to them, to the fans who have supported the Supersonics franchise in Seattle for 41 years, and let's settle it once and for all with Key Arena, there is a $300 million propose all out will; is that a significant proposal and could that solve the problem?"

Commissioner David Stern: "Actually there's no proposal out there right now, and I don't think you would mean to misrepresent that to me, would you?"

Daniels: "The $300 million proposal that the state legislature did not want to get involved in and they talked about getting involved in January."

Stern: "That would be the fourth that would be the fourth I'll let you finish. Go ahead."

Daniels: "The Key Arena remodel plan that's out there is a viable proposal."

Stern: "The Key Arena model has been available for four years, and never been acted upon by anybody. So I would say to the fans of Seattle, we very much appreciate your support. We think you have a great city. We think King County is great and we think that Washington is great and we are very sad that the absence of a first class facility, or even a funded, voted upon plan for one wasn't able to be put together by whoever's responsibility it is, collectively for this day now to occur."

Then later in the interview Daniels hammers into Stern for the last time.

Daniels: "There's been so much discussion about good faith and best efforts between Mr. Bennett and his group and the City of Seattle and you believe he was acting in good faith over those negotiations, but over the last week there have been several e mails, including an exchange between you and Mr. Bennett and e mails between Mr. Bennett and his have you had a chance to read through those?"

Stern: "My response, as I have been reminded, wasn't lengthy at all. So your predicate is ..."

Daniels: "Have you read through those e mails?"

Stern: "No."

Daniels: "Especially between Mr. Bennett and ..."

Stern: "Live or not, I don't like to be interrupted, and I'm not going to interrupt you. So why don't we just go to the next question."

That was really priceless. I've attended quite a few Stern press conference and he rarely gets upset likes this. He took a somber tone on Friday - perhaps aware of the pain he was causing so many NBA fans in Seattle - but he also displayed that dry sense of humor that often gets characterized as smugness.

When asked: "Would Key Arena, if that proposal ever finds the funding for it it's been talked about for several years, but would it be something that would be viable for an NBA arena in the future?

Stern replied: "I'm not going to talk about how many angels you can fit upon the head of a pin ..." when a simply "I'm not going to speculate on that" would have served the purpose.

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April 18, 2008 1:45 PM

NBA Board of Governors approve Sonics move 28-2

Posted by Percy Allen

By a vote of 28-2, the NBA Board of Governors today endorsed the recommendation of the NBA Relocation Committee and approved the move of the Sonics from Seattle to Oklahoma City for the 2008-09 season, subject to a resolution of the pending litigation between the Sonics and the city of Seattle that removes any requirement for the team to play at KeyArena for the next two seasons.

The Sonics must pay a $30 million relocation fee.

Commissioner David Stern addressed the media and encouraged the city of Seattle and the Sonics to resolve their legal matters with a financial settlement. Stern had his talking points. He reitterated several times that Sonics current and past ownerships have made four unsuccessful attempts to solve the team's arena problems.

He said the despite the e-mails released by the city last week in which members of the Oklahoma City-based ownership group talk about moving the team there, Stern believes team chairman Clayton Bennett operated in good faith.

Bennett was also very emotional on this topic. He said his comments were misconstrued. When he wrote "I'm a man possessed," Bennett said he was referring to finding an arena solution in Seattle.

He admitted that co-owners Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward want a team in Oklahoma City, but was told that it would not be the Sonics.

Bennet said that his emotions were mixed because he's "disappointed we couldn't make it work in Seattle" and "I'm very happy for the people in Oklahoma."

Bennett would like to keep the Sonics name, history in logo in Seattle and begin a new history in the Sooner State.

Here's Governor's Christine Gregoire's response to the relocation.

And read Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell's both issued a response.

"I'm disappointed that NBA leadership has ignored calls for good-faith efforts to keep the Sonics in Seattle and rewarded the bad-faith behavior of Clay Bennett and his ownership group," said Senator Murray. "Violating the public's trust with empty promises is unacceptable, and the NBA's decision today sets a poor precedent."

"For decades the Sonics have been part of the Seattle community and its culture," said Senator Cantwell. "As an avid sports fan, I'm dismayed to see the NBA rewarding such unsportsmanlike conduct. The Sonics ownership misrepresented their true intentions to the community and yet the NBA gives them a bonus for this bad-faith effort."

***UPDATE 7:42 P.M.*** There was a question below about the 28-2 vote. Well, Bennett was able to vote and obviously he voted for the move. The dissenting votes were cast by Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

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April 18, 2008 11:28 AM

Was that the Pope or Bird?

Posted by Percy Allen

Standing outside the St. Regis Hotel, I spotted Larry Bird leaving the hotel. A bunch of media (myself, the Tacoma News Tribune writer and Chris Sheridan of ESPN.com) tried to chase him down, but Larry Legend ducked inside a black limousine before we reached him.

I didn't think Bird could move that fast.

Brian Robinson, co-president of Save Our Sonics, said he briefly chatted with one of the Maloof brothers as the Sacramento Kings co-owner left the hotel. According to Robinson, Maloof said it didn't look good (for Seattle).

Still there's a feeling that the meeting is breaking up and we could have an annoucement pretty soon.

The security inside this place is tight and the NBA security guards are giving us media types the ugly eye. Everybody has been cordial and respectful, but it's clear there's some tension in the air.

This hotel isn't new to media types buzzing around. I heard Eva Mendes and Henry Kissinger are also staying here. No word on the Pope, whose New York visit has gridlocked traffic in midtown.

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April 18, 2008 10:25 AM

Paul Allen is a no-show

Posted by Percy Allen

Paul Allen, the Portland Trail Blazers and Seahawks owner, is not attending today's NBA Board of Governors meeting, just confirmed through a Vulcan Sports spokesman.

Blazers president Larry Miller is believed to be here representing the Blazers.

There's rampant speculation that Allen's group will abstain from the Sonics' relocation vote.

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April 18, 2008 9:45 AM

Live from New York

Posted by Percy Allen

I made my way to the St. Regis Hotel in midtown Manhattan for today's NBA Board of Governor's meeting. Upon arriving to the hotel, I asked where the NBA media is gathering and was ushered to the 20th floor.

Outside the elevators a security guard stopped me and redirected me to a second floor media room. Before leaving, I saw Clay Bennett and commissioner David Stern emerging from a conference room together. They both wore comfortable smiles.

Bennett and I exchanged greetings, however, Stern avoided eye contact.

Elsewhere, the hotel is swarming with media types. This is my second BOG and this is more media than I remember. There's two television stations from Seattle (KIRO and KING) and Tacoma News Tribune reporter Eric Williams.

Gov. Christine Gregoire is also represented. She sent MarK W. Rupp who is the director of the governor's Washington, D.C. office.

Rupp expects the NBA owners to approve the Sonics' relocation bid, but said the governor wants to begin conversations of having a team in Seattle.

"We definitely want to have conversations with the NBA about getitng a franchise in Seattle,” he said. "My general understanding is that they are looking to go international, but Seattle is one of the most international cities in the world."

Brian Robinson, co-president of Save Our Sonics, also made the cross-country trip to New York. He's standing outside wearing a Sonics green and gold jacket. It's quite a scene.

"We don't expect it to go our way and we don't have a lot false hope, but we also think it's terribly relevant to be here," Robinson said. "We haven't based our actions based on what the NBA is going to do for a long time."

"I make a good point of standing in the middle of the sidewalk. They (the owners) avert their eyes and walk around me. I said hello to Jerry Buss. Larry Bird was in the bar last night. They're aware we're here and we'd love to talk to them."

As for the press conference, media was told to gather at 12:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. in Seattle) but experience tells me that this could drag out for a few hours.

UPDATE 10:47 a.m. --- Just spoke with a Sonics PR spokesman and he says the team did not change the website today. In fact, the redesign was launched Feb. 28. The spokesman said there was discussion about omitting "Seattle" from the front page, however, five other teams do not include their cities on the front page of the website.

Believe me. We checked. The teams are New Jersey, Memphis, Houston, Sacramento and Washington.

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April 17, 2008 9:08 PM

Paul Allen to abstain?

Posted by Jayda Evans

A source told Elise Woodward, a host on Sports Radio KJR (950 AM), that Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen will abstain from voting on the Sonics' relocation bid. The 30 NBA owners are gathering in New York today and tomorrow to discuss several issues, including majority owner Clay Bennett's wish to move the 41-year-old franchise to his native Oklahoma.

Bennett needs a simple majority, 16 votes, to win approval. So far, only Allen's abstention and Mark Cuban's no-vote and a bunch of possible court proceedings are stopping Bennett.

Anticipating the move, the Sonics have stopped selling season tickets for next year and are discounting all merchandise. Bennett has also received several "sweetheart" deals in Oklahoma to make the transition smoother.

Media has been told to gather at a New York City hotel tomorrow afternoon for a press conference.

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April 17, 2008 4:28 PM

Sene underwent microfracture surgery

Posted by Percy Allen

The news on Sonics second-year center Mouhamed Sene went from bad to worse.

He had surgery on Monday to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee and during the operation, doctors discovered a chondral defect and performed microfracture surgery, the Sonics announced today.

Sene will be on crutches for six weeks and will miss the start of training camp.

During a conference call today, general manager Sam Presti said he expects Sene will miss a portion of the season as well, which is probably optimistic. In some cases, players require a year to recovery, which could force Sene to miss the 2008-09 season.

At the start of the season, the Sonics had a gluttony of young centers with Robert Swift, Johan Petro and Sene and now the team has just one healthy center. Swift is recovering from knee surgery.

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April 17, 2008 2:37 PM

Sonics assistant GM leaving

Posted by Jayda Evans

Sonics assistant general manager Scott Perry is expected to return to Detroit as their new vice president of basketball operations. The official announcement could come as early as this weekend. The Sonics had no comment.

Perry left the Pistons to join new GM Sam Presti and the Sonics in July 2007. A native of Detroit, Perry was with the Pistons from 2002-2007 as director of player personnel. He'll replace John Hammond, who took the open Milwaukee Bucks GM position.

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April 17, 2008 12:25 PM

KD Again

Posted by Jayda Evans

It's no surprise, Kevin Durant won Western Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in April, averaging 24.3 points and 4.1 assists, including Wednesday's career-high 42-point, 13-rebound night against Golden State with his grandmother watching. KD won all but one month this season (five total) and seems to be a shoo-in for the overall ROY award.

He just left practice facility for exit interviews, giving a faint smile when his possibility for the ROY was brought up saying, "it would mean a lot to me." KD is leaving for his hometown Washington, D.C. tonight, finishing what could be his only stint in a Sonics jersey as the leading rookie scorer in franchise history. He averaged 20.3 points and 4.4 rebounds in 80 games.

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April 16, 2008 11:26 PM

Final thoughts

Posted by Percy Allen

Where to begin? Let's start with the obvious. Kevin Durant is pretty good. You don't often see someone score 42 points and attempt just 25 shots and two three-pointers. But that's what he did. He's efficient now. He's selective. He doesn't take many bad shots. He doesn't randomly hoist treys like he did when he entered the league.

And the 13 rebounds and six assists suggest he's becoming a five-tool player. The only drawback tonight was his five turnovers, but really so what. He also had two blocks, including a crucial block on Andris Biedrins that coach P.J. Carlesimo described as "plays that win games."

The kid is the real deal and anyone who doesn't vote for him for Rookie of the Year should have their NBA pass revoked. It really is not a contest.

I wonder how good Durant will get this summer. I asked him if he's improved his strenght this season and he said no, which made me cringe because he was unable to bench press 225 pounds at last summer's combine. But then he said that he didn't lose any strength either so that's a good thing.

As for Jeff Green, well, he too has gotten better and better. He's only scratching the surface of his ability. His outside shot is becoming a weapon and for the first time tonight, I saw officials give Green the respect usually reserved for All-Star veterans. Seriously. There were more than a few questionable calls that went in favor of Green who attempted 14 free throws.

I think Nick Collison (16 points and 13 rebounds) cemented a spot on the roster for next season. I know many fans may disagree, but Earl Watson (17 points and 12 rebounds) also looks to be a keeper. He finished the season as the team's assist leader averaging 6.8 per game.

I would imagine that the Sonics will keep Chris Wilcox and injured Mo Sene. Everybody else is expendable including Damien Wilkins and Luke Ridnour who likely played his last game as a Sonics.

I guess that phrase "last game as a Sonics" could be true for everybody on the team. If it was, Durant made it a special one that will be remembered for a long, long time.

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April 16, 2008 7:53 PM

Golden State game thread

Posted by Percy Allen

IT'S OVER --- Mercifully, the Sonics hang on to a 126-121 victory. Durant finishes with a career highs 42 points and 13 rebounds. Seattle wins its final two games and finished 20-62. What a season.

FOR-TY --- Durant is going out with a 40-point bang. Wow.

DURANT GETS THERE AGAIN --- The rookie has 37 points, which ties his career high. He hit a big jumper and on the next possesion, Watson drained a three-pointer that gives the Supes a commanding 117-108 lead witih 2:50 left.

WARRIORS ARE BACK IN IT --- Ellis drained a short jumper to cut Golden State's lead to 108-104 with less than five minutes left. The Warriors just won't give up.

ANOTHER CAREER NIGHT? --- Durant has 32 points after three quarters to lead the Sonics who lead 95-80. He needs seven to reach his career best. Durant has converted 15 of 22 shots. Green is not bad either. He has 23 points.

HALFTIME --- The Sonics lead 68-60. Durant is putting on a show and cementing his Rookie of the Year claim. He has a game-high 24 points on 11-for-14 shooting. He also has four rebounds and four assists. His career high is 37 points. Green (16 points) is the only other Sonic in double-digit scoring. Davis leads Golden State with 13.

BRONZE MEDALS TO THE WINNER --- This game has the feel of a Saturday morning Class AAA consolation game at the Tacoma Dome. Neither team really wants to be here, but the near capacity crowd is trying to pump life into the Warriors who fell behind by 11 points in the first quarter.

DAVIS V. NELLIE --- Coach Don Nelson downplayed any friction that might exist between him and Davis, who was benched in the second half of Monday's loss to Phoenix. The defeat knocked the Warriors out of the playoffs and sparked speculation that Davis would not return season. Davis, who started and has six points in 13 minutes, has declined media requests. He said he'll address the matter after tonight's game.

CONGRATS KD --- Durant needed just 18 points to join LeBron James and Carmelo Anthonly and become the third teenager in NBA history to average 20 points in a season. He just knocked down a long jumper for his 18th point. Before the game, he said: "I'm not going to think about it. Those things don't matter. ... It is nice to be mentioned with those guys. That's some good company. But I'm not going to go out and think about it."

A SEATTLE INVASION --- Driving to Oracle Arena was a little strange because the arena sits next to the Oakland Athletics' McAfee Coliseum where the Mariners are playing tonight. Strange. Can't remember the last time I've ever been in a place where the city's professional basketball and baseball teams are playing on the same night.

MY APOLOGIES FOR THE LATE START --- So much going on today that I got a little behind. Just catching up now. Bear with me. I'm blogging like crazy and writing for the newspaper as well.

STARTING LINEUPS

SONICS
F -- Jeff Green
F -- Nick Collison
C -- Johan Petro
G -- Kevin Durant
G -- Earl Watson

GOLDEN STATE
F -- Stephen Jackson
F -- Al Harrington
C -- Andris Biedrins
G -- Baron Davis
G -- Monta Ellis

Officials: Mike Callahan, Marc Davis and Kevin Fehr

PRE-GAME NOTES --- Chris Wilcox (dislocated right pinkie) plans to sit on the bench in his Sonics uniform. He's not playing, but as Wilcox put it: "Who knows, I might not ever get to wear this again." Sad, but true.

Coach P.J. Carlesimo talked at length during his pre-game address with the media about his plans for next season. He says the team will likely take incremental steps rather than attempt to make the worst-to-first leap like the Boston Celtics. Carlesimo said the Sonics have adopted the traditional model of building through the draft much like Portland, New Orleans and Atlanta.

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April 16, 2008 1:07 PM

Mayor Nickels weighs in on the NBA BOG meeting

Posted by Percy Allen

Mayor Greg Nickels echoed sentiments made by the Governor Christine Gregoire, state and local leaders who sent a letter to NBA Commissioner David Stern and urged him to postpone action on the Sonics' relocation bid until after the team's legal matters are resolved.

You can read the Mayor's press release on his website.

Nickels was noticeably did not sign the Gregoire letter and chose to issue a seperate statement, which indicates that this issue has turned into a political quagmire. It's no secret that the Mayor is angry with the Governor because he believe state leaders acted slowly and allowed a $150 million KeyArena offer from a group that included Steve Ballmer to expire. The city committed $75 million and asked the state to authorize funds for an additional $75 million.

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April 15, 2008 2:42 PM

Gregoire to Stern: "Just say no."

Posted by Percy Allen

Governor Christine Gregoire, state and local officials have sent a letter to the NBA urging the owners to postpone this week's Board of Governors vote on the Sonics until the team's legal problems are resolved.

Here's a copy of the letter.

The letter cited a breach of contract with the previous ownership group and a breach of faith with fans as prime reasons to postpone the vote. Other parties signing the letter include House Speaker Frank Chopp, Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, King County Executive Ron Sims and Seattle City Council President Richard Conlin.

The groups' action comes on the heels of former Sonics owner Howard Schultz's announcement that he intends to sue the current team owners for breach of contract.

The NBA Board of Governors meeting begins Thursday and the owners are expected to vote on Friday. Commissioner David Stern will address the media Friday.

On a side note, if you haven't seen our "Write your caption" item, you have to check it out. It is a must read. I never knew so many of you readers are a little sick and twisted. Good stuff. Keep it coming.


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April 14, 2008 10:44 PM

Schultz rides to the rescue?

Posted by Percy Allen

Howard Schultz has taken a beating in Seattle from fans who hold him responsible for the demise of the Sonics, especially now since the new owners plan to move the team to Oklahoma City.

But in light of the emails from the Sonics ownership group that were released last week, Schultz plans to sue Clay Bennett to rescind the July 2006 sale of the Sonics and reclaim the team.

Here's our story.

This is not a joke. Schultz vs. Bennett. The suit is expected to be filed within a few weeks.

Schultz hired attorney Richard Yarmuth of the Seattle-based law firm Yarmuth Wilsdon Calfo who has an impressive resume and considerable expertise in these types of cases.

I spoke with Yarmuth earlier today and below is a portion of that interview.

(Before we get into this case, I hear you have some experience in these cases. Can you bring me up to speed?) "That's because you're new and I'm old. I'm a lawyer here in Seattle and most recently in 1986, I was the attorney for King County in the lawsuit that King County brought against the Mariners at that point owned by George Argyos when he tried to break the lease at the Kingdome and move the team to San Diego. So represented King County and we successfully got a court to order that the lease was enforceable and he couldnt leave.

"Beyond that, back in the early 1970s the lawfirm that I was previously with William Dwyer as the chief counsel sued the American baseball league when the Pilots got moved to Milwaukee and Seattle was left without a baseball team. Our firm sued Major League Baseball claiming that it had gotten us to build this Kingdome on the promise of a Major League baseball team and then when we had the team, it decided to take it away and moved it to Milwaukee.

"That case actually went to trial against Major League baseball and during the trial it was settled with Major League baseball agreeing that the next time it expanded, which was going to be in two years, that both the Mariners and Toronto would be created as expansion franchise.

"I was also on the committee that Slade (Gorton), we called it the Sarkowski committee, I was one of the members of the committee when Slade found an owner when Jeff Smuylan owned the team and he was threatening to break the lease and move it. Slade Gorton was part of the group that found Nintendo and the current Mariners ownership group to save the team. That was called the Sarkowski commission after Herman Sarkowski who was a notable figure in the city.

"So anyway those are some of the notable events I've been involved in over the years with regards to teams that don't seem to want to stay put."

Schultz vs. Bennett.

Nearly two years after the sale of the Sonics, who would have thought this saga would have taken this type of turn.

I'm traveling to the Bay Area tomorrow for Wednesday's season finale, but I'll post more on this story on Tuesday.

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April 13, 2008 6:44 PM

Mavericks game thread

Posted by Jayda Evans

SONICS WIN: It was delayed because of a Dallas timeout and defensive foul at the end of the game, but the Sonics won 99-95 and are playing Flashlight, performed by Parliament. The Supes held the Mavs scoreless for the final 3:14, scoring the games final 10 points.

CROWD CONTROL: The Key is going nuts after a KD layin pulled the Supes ahead 98-95 with 14.3 seconds remaining. A fleet of cops are lining the court, looking for any disruption after the game. There's also undercover security everywhere.

FIGHTING HARD: Watson es en fuego esta noche. He grabbed a rebound, gained possession on a jump ball, and called for a timeout, and setup Petro for a jumper to in time for Seattle to preserve its comeback. The Supes just pulled ahead 96-95 with 41.6 remaining in the game.

TIE GAME: Nowitzki just hot a three-pointer to tie the score at 84 points apiece. The vibe in the building is dying down a bit, although plenty of whacky fans are dancing in their seats in hopes of winning an X-Box. One woman almost went topless. She didn't win.

OTHER FACES: NBA usually brings out the stars and even though in Seattle those are often B-rated, the Supes filled the house with basketball legends for the season finale. In addition to GP, Sheyl Swoopes, Slick Watts, Fred Brown, and James Donaldson were also spotted in the crowd.

SONICS CLOSE: The Sonics outscored the Mavs 31-26, capped by a Collison dunk off a Green feed, to make the score 51-50 Dallas at the half. Watson is leading with 15 points and six assists while JT (16), Nowitzki (11), and Josh Howard (11) and the hot scorers for the Mavs.

CARLESIMO TECH: Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo was called for a tech with 1:28 remaining in the second quarter for arguing with the officials. Nowitzki missed the FT. The Sonics rallied to lead 48-47. This is Carlesimo's third tech of the season, costing him $1,000.

GP YOU WITH ME?: Sonics legend Gary Payton is in the house, getting a standing ovation from the south end of the arena as he walked to seats with 10:34 remaining in the second quarter. He got another ovation when formally introduced during a timeout with 8:34 remaining. Fans remained on their seats and chanted "Gary! Gary! Gary!" so long that the jumbotron had to show him again. The Mavs playfully gave GP a thumbs down and snickered.

Here are tonight's starters

Sonics
F Jeff Green
F Nick Collison
C Johan Petro
G Kevin Durant
G Earl Watson

Mavericks
F Josh Howard
F Dirk Nowitzki
C Erick Dampier
G Jason Terry
G Jason Kidd

Tonight's officials are Joe DeRosa, Eric Lewis, and Rodney Mott.

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April 11, 2008 6:35 PM

Gorton blasts Gregoire, Bennett

Posted by Percy Allen

Slade Gorton, the lead litigator in the city of Seattle's case against the Sonics, responds angrily to the inaction in Olympia after Steve Ballmer and his group's offer to pay for half of the $300 million in KeyArena renovations was allowed to expire on Thursday.

Here's the release ...

Statement from Slade Gorton Regarding Funding of KeyArena:

For more than a year it has been obvious that the only way in which to save NBA basketball for Seattle in the long term was a major remodel of KeyArena to make it acceptable to the NBA and to any prospective owner. Not a single suggestion as to how that could be accomplished has ever come from the governor's office or from the leaders of our legislature.

The KeyArena solution is by far the least costly, strengthens the Seattle Center, and requires the public to pay only for those improvements that are necessary for its viability even in the absence of professional basketball.

Clay Bennett, however, was never willing to consider this alternative.

Two months ago, four civic-minded citizens offered not only to purchase the Sonics but to contribute $150m to the city, half of the cost of the KeyArena remodel. I know of no more generous private offer for a public facility anywhere. Mayor Nickels and the city promptly pledged $75m, half of the remainder. The city then asked the governor and the legislature to authorize it to raise the rest. Its latest proposal was to use 1 percent of the existing 7 percent hotel/motel tax collected inside of the city. The consistent answer from Olympia has been that any timely answer is impossible.

While many of us will continue to try to find a way to save NBA basketball for Seattle, by far the best chance of doing so is to have a specific proposition to put in front of the NBA next week that includes the KeyArena remodel. That will require an unequivocal state commitment to authorize Seattle to raise the final $75m, strong enough for the city literally to take to the bank.

There is not much time, but this is the only plan that will work.

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April 11, 2008 4:02 PM

Calabro calls it quits --- maybe?

Posted by Percy Allen

Kevin Calabro, arguably the best play-by-play announcer in the NBA, will call his final game with the Sonics tonight in San Antonio if the team makes good on its threats and moves to Oklahoma City next season.

These are truly depressing times.

Just spoke with Calabro in a telephone interview and he confirmed what has been suspected for months. If and when chairman Clay Bennett moves the team, Calabro is staying behind and will remain in Seattle.

Be sure to tune in or TiVo tonight's game. Calabro said he doesn't plan to get emotional, but he will let the television audience know of his plans.

Months ago, Calabro made scheduled with ESPN radio to call the LA Lakers-San Antonio Spurs game on Sunday so he will miss the Sonics home finale against Dallas. He also will not attend the regular-season finale in Oakland, Calfif. against the Golden State Warriors because it will not be broadcast on FSN.

"I agonized over this for a few days, whether or not to say anything, but the fans have been so great to me and my family over 21 years and just to not suddenly not show up for the final game on Sunday and disappear from the scene didn't seem quite right," he said. "That's not the way I wanted to go out."

Sonics fans will love Calabro's reasoning for staying put.

"It's just a great market here," he said. "It's home. We got roots. Sue and I have raised four kids in the community. We have friends in the community and are involved in the community. It doesn't make sense to leave and it doesn't make sense to commute.

"And frankly, I'm a Seattle guy. My allegiance is to Seattle. It's not to another market. I do have an allegiance to the NBA as well and would like to work in the NBA, but at some point there's a price that's just too big to pay and the disruption of family life would be too big to pay."

Marques Johnson is the color analyst tonight, which is almost a fitting way to end if this is truly the end.

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April 10, 2008 12:22 PM

Big props for Sene

Posted by Percy Allen

Mouhamed Sene's season seemed as if it ended sour note after he suffered a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee during last Friday's Idaho Stampede game at Bakersfield of the NBA Development League, however, the Sonics center was named co-Defensive Player of the Year in the NBDL today.

Sene, who was named All D-League Honorable Mention this past Sunday, appeared in 27 games with the Idaho Stampede this season, averaging 12.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 27.5 minutes per game.

Sene shares this year's award with the Miami Heat/Los Angeles D-Fenders' Stephane Lasme.

As the first Seattle Sonics player to win the award, Sene also shares the distinction of being the first international player to be named NBA Development League Co-Defensive Player of the Year with Lasme, a Gabonese native.

"It's an honor to win this award and be acknowledged for all the hard work I've put into improving on the defensive end of the floor," Sene said in a statement. "I appreciate being recognized by the league and being able to represent Senegal."

NBA DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNERS

2008 Mouhamed Sene Idaho Stampede

2008 Stephane Lasme Los Angeles D-Fenders

2007 Renaldo Major Dakota Wizards

2006 Derrick Zimmerman Austin Toros

2005 Derrick Zimmerman Columbus Riverdragons

2004 Karim Shabazz Charleston Lowgators

2003 Mikki Moore Roanoke Dazzle

2002 Jeff Myers Greenville Groove

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April 9, 2008 1:02 PM

What stage are you in?

Posted by Percy Allen

As of 1 p.m., 1,545 responses were logged by our online poll and most fans said they were angered by what appears like the Sonics impending move to Oklahoma City.

We're going to keep it open all week. Log on and let us know how you feel.

Here's a breakdown of the results:

Denial 8% (121 votes)
Anger 43% (669 votes)
Bargaining 5% (71 votes)
Depression 10% (157 votes)
Acceptance 34% (527 votes)

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April 8, 2008 8:36 PM

Gorton presses on despite setback

Posted by Percy Allen

Former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton said he's disapointed that Governor Christine Gregoire and state lawmakers will allow Microsoft mogul Steve Ballmer's $150 million proposal to renovate KeyArena to expire on Thursday and called it a "major defeat."

However, he plans to continue with the lawsuit against the Sonics.

It appears that Gorton believes that even if the city wins its June lawsuit, the team will eventually leave Seattle. In a statement released today, he said: "We will ... continue to try to find a way to recreate a Seattle NBA franchise ..."

Read the entire statement below.

Statement from Slade Gorton Regarding Funding of KeyArena:

First, we will continue vigorously to prosecute the city of Seattle's lawsuit to enforce the Sonics' obligation to play at KeyArena through the 2009-2010 season.

The failure of the governor and the leaders of the legislature, however, to accept any of the city's proposals to authorize it to fund the final $75m of a $300m plan to refurbish and expand KeyArena means that we have no plan to present to the National Basketball Association to persuade it to reject Clay Bennett's application to move the Sonics to Oklahoma City, subject to the KeyArena lease.

This is a major defeat for the Seattle community.

Four generous and civic-minded citizens have offered a gift of $150m to the city, half of the projected cost of the necessary work on KeyArena, a facility owned by the city. I know of no equally generous such offer in any other city. Most of the cost of the work will have to be paid by the public even in the absence of the Sonics in order to retain the arena as a viable part of the Seattle Center.

Under the strong leadership of Mayor Greg Nickels, and with the apparent support of the city council, the city offered a $75m contribution to that project. In addition, the city has asked the legislature and the governor to authorize King County to extend certain of the taxes now earmarked for paying the Safeco Field bonds for a limited time to provide the final $75m.

That request was refused.

More recently, the city asked the governor and the legislature to authorize the city to impose a hotel-motel fee taxing the city only to raise that sum. The hotel-motel association did not oppose the idea. Nevertheless, the governor and the legislative leaders refused to consider it this year.

This is a failure of both imagination and courage on their part. In this case, political leaders who should have been a part of the solution were, instead, the problem.

A solution before the April 17 NBA meeting would have given Seattle the maximum leverage either to keep the Sonics or to condition their loss on the immediate creation of a new NBA franchise in Seattle.

Even an identical solution after April 17 will make the challenge of finding a new NBA franchise much more difficult as well as more costly. It also means the loss of the $150m private contribution offer.

We will, of course, continue to try to find a way to recreate a Seattle NBA franchise, but the absence of necessary support in Olympia now, in striking contrast to that shown by Mayor Nickels in Seattle, makes that task far more daunting.

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April 8, 2008 5:31 PM

WNBA's Boston Celtics?

Posted by Jayda Evans

The Storm announced the signing of Yolanda Griffith today, a 1999 MVP who spent her first nine seasons in the league with Sacramento. The addition of the 6-foot-4 post gives Seattle three MVPs, four of the 10 players selected to the all-Decade team, or eight total championship rings - just depends on how you want to rack up the star power.

While Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett didn't have that much between them, the Storm could have a parallel season after losing in the first round of the playoffs the past three seasons. Or they could be like the 2004 Los Angeles Lakers when they added Karl Malone and Gary Payton and flopped in their pursuit of winning the NBA title.

Age is a factor. Griffith is 38 and coming off a thumb injury while Sheryl Swoopes, who won four titles for Houston, is 37 and had back surgery this offseason. Either way, the Storm should be a happier storyline than the Sonics.

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April 8, 2008 4:09 PM

Sene out

Posted by Jayda Evans

Sonics C Mo Sene suffered a torn MCL in his right knee while playing with the Idaho Stampede on Friday. The extent of the injury was shown in a MRI on Monday. The team is in the process of figuring out when and where he'll have surgery.

Sene appeared in 13 games for the Sonics this season, averaging 2.3 points and 1.2 rebounds in 4.8 minutes. He also appeared in 27 games for the Stampede this season, averaging 12.4 points and 9.0 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game. The 10th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, Sene has appeared in 41 regular season games in his two seasons with the Sonics and holds career averages of 2.0 points and 1.2 rebounds.

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April 8, 2008 1:54 PM

SOS: Don't give up the fight

Posted by Jayda Evans

Fans with the grassroots organization Save Our Sonics refuse to let the Sonics slip away. The deal involving Steve Ballmer, who's vacationing in South America, is apparently dead. But SOS is asking people to call the governor's office to ask for special session regarding the Sonics. Owner Clay Bennett has already said he's willing to give up the name/history, so it seems this is all for another team. There's still B2 Inc proposal out there, so maybe something can be worked out.

Here's the press release from SOS:

Today Seattle's Mayor announced that the City can not fill the gap in funding left by the States inaction for the Key Arena Upgrade proposal.

Via our Public Disclosure requests we found that the calls to the Governor and House leadership were running 97% in favor of this proposal.

This overwhelming support for this plan was ignored by house leadership who in some cases lied about the volume and support of these calls.

Call for a special session.
Without the State authorizing King County to divert $75 million of the $423 million surplus Safeco Field funds to the project our chances of keeping the current team, and the ownership group led by Ballmer, are slim.
Now we must turn our attention to the Governor and asking her to call a special session to save the team. Please call her office at (360) 902-4111 and ask her to call a special session now so that funding can be in place before the Board of Governors vote at their meeting April 17th.

Our loud message is getting through to people and there is still significant chance for success. Please continue your support and call the Governor to POLITELY, but firmly, request her help to Save Our Sonics.

Governor Christine Gregoire Comment Line: (360) 902-4111

It is not over!


Brian and Steve
Save Our Sonics

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April 8, 2008 7:41 AM

Record breakers

Posted by Percy Allen

One last note from Sunday's 151-147 double overtime win over Denver. Kevin Durant and Jeff Green combined to form the highest scoring rookie duo in a game. Their 72 points surpassed the 71 points from former Sonics Bob Rule and Al Tucker on Nov. 21, 1967.

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April 6, 2008 11:01 PM

Final thoughts

Posted by Percy Allen

George Karl may have waxed poetically about Seattle and the Sonics before the game, but afterwards he was in no mood to talk about relocation.

"That's the furthest thing from my mind right now," the Denver coach said when asked about the possiblitity that he coached his last game in Seattle.

This was crushing defeat for the Nuggets who fell into an eighth place tie with Golden State for the eighth playofff spot in the West.

It was also an uplifting victory for the Sonics who snapped a five-game losing streak and need to win their remaining five games to setting the record for the worst mark in franchise history. They are 18-59 and the inaugural team in 1967-68 finished 23-59.

Some quick thoughts on the game ... you don't need a crystal ball to see that the Sonics will have many more nights like this in their future. Only the inexhaustable Allen Iverson (55:38 minutes) played more than Kevin Durant (51:14) and Jeff Green (49:28) and the two Seattle rookies looked as if they could play a few more extra periods.

Conisder this, the Sonics had 15 turnovers and KD and JG combined for 11.

Some other numbers that jump out, Green sank 14 of 21 shots and Durant was 11 of 24. That's efficient.

The Sonics had just two blocked shots, which should be an alarm that the team could use a shot-blocking center. I know Mo Sene is a project, but he may still figure into their plans. Depending on their lottery luck, everybody assumes the Sonics will draft Memphis freshman Derrick Rose, but it wouldn't be so odd if the team gambles on another center. One of the Lopez twins would be an interesting choice.

Tonight's game was a nice showcase for Luke Ridnour and the team will certainly point to this game when it shops him this summer. He still has skills and he can be a starter with the right team. Ridnour thrives in games like these. Tonight he had 19 points on 9-for-14 shooting, eight assists, four rebounds and no turnovers in 35 minutes. He even blocked a shot.

As good as Green was tonight - and he was pretty doggone special - we're still waiting to see his playmaking ability. His career high in assists is six, which seems a little low for someone who is 12th on Georgetown's all-time list.

Still, give the rookie credit for adapting to Denver's defesne, powering to the basket and converting difficult layups against shot blockers like Marcus Camby and Kenyon Martin. Just when it seemed as if he was falling in love with the three-point shot, he unveils a solid mid-range game and shows that he's able to convert in traffic.

And what can you say about Durant? The two three-pointers that forced overtime should seal up his ROY campaign. Anyone who thinks Al Horford is more deserving just doesn't know basketball.

One last note, check the replay on Durant's last three-pointer and you'll see that he almost pulled off a Gilbert Arenas move. Durant turned away just after his trey settled into the net with 5.1 seconds left and simply smiled. I asked him about it and he laughed before saying he was going to turn around and walk to the other end before the shot went in. "Naw, I'm just playing. But I thought about it for a second. But I wouldn't do that."

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April 6, 2008 6:00 PM

Denver game thread

Posted by Percy Allen

GREAT WIN --- The Supes pull it out and claim a 151-147 victory. Durant (37 points) and Green (35) set career highs.

NO ONE IN THE LOWER BOWL IS SITTING DOWN --- Hadn't seen a game like this in this building in a long time.

DURANT DOES IT AGAIN --- He drained another three-pointer to tie the score 135-135 with 5.1 seconds left. Martin missed a desperation shot at the buzzer and we're headed to a second overtime.

DURANT FORCES OT --- The rookie didn't hesitate on a three-pointer at the top of the key that tied the game at 126-126 with 22.6 remaining. Anthony had a chance to win in regulation, but his baseline jumper sailed long.

GREAT FINISH --- There's 13,104 in the building, but if you closed your eyes you'd swear the place was packed. It's a good crowd and a fantastic finish. The Supes have scored just 24 points this quarter.

GREEN SURPASSES HIS CAREER HIGH --- He's got 28 points tonight.

THE FIIRST TO 130 WINS? --- It's beginning to look that way.

THIRD QUARTER --- Sonics keep the lead. They're ahead 99-95. Durant is efficient offensively. He's connected on 9 of 16 field goals for 25 points and he has seven assists and five rebounds. The seven assists ties his career high. Anthony, who scored 47 points on Saturday, has 27 for Denver.

IF YOU LIKE SCORING ... then this is the game for you. Sonics lead 70-64. They're on pace for their highest scoring game this season. Their previous high was a 126 points in a double OT game at Atlantat on Nov. 16. Unfortunately this is one of those fool's gold game. Denver can play at this blistering pace, but I'm not sure the Sonics can sustain what they're doing. Durant leads everyone with 18 points, Wilkins has 12 and Green 11. Four Nuggets are in double digit scoring, including Anthony who has a team-high 13.

P.J. COLLECTS A TECHNICAL --- Carlesimo came to the defense of Green who given a blocking charge on Kenyon Martin. Anthony missed the ensuing free throw. It was Carlesimo's second technical this season.

FIRST QUARTER --- Denver may not get to 168 points, but this is a high-scoring game. The Nuggets lead 36-31 and they're shooting 60.9 percent from the field. The Sonics haven't slowed this team down in the past 10 quarters dating back to their first game on Oct. 31. The scoring is spread out evenly for the Nuggets. All five starters have at least three points. Durant leads the Supes with 10.

SPLIT HOUSE --- Loyalties are divided among a strong contingent of Nuggets fans. Surprisingly, there's a good turnout tonight. About 12,000 I'm guessing. If this is second to last game in Seattle for this team, then you have to hand it to the fans for still showinig up.

MORE ON WILKINS --- He missed two games to attend the birth of his son Jayden Lamont Wilkins who was born April 2nd at 3:30 a.m. Jayden was 7 pounds and 20 inches at the time of his birth. Jayden and his mother Traci Boyd are doing fine after a 24-hour labor. Said Wilkins: "It's still hard to believe that somebody is going to call me daddy."

SHOEGATE AFTERMATH --- Apparently the fallout from the sneaker fiasco after Friday's game isn't over. The team's marketing staff is accepting full responsibility for failing to tell players that they were supposed to give their autographed shoes to fans after the game. The players were told immediately after the game and some were hesitant to follow through. A few gave less than enthusiastic showings. A PR spokesman said cheerleaders will give out stuff after the game even though the PA announcer said Friday that six players would give out goodies following tongiht's game.

STARTING LINEUPS

DENVER
F -- Carmelo Anthony
F -- Kenyon Martin
C -- Marcus Camby
G -- Anthony Carter
G -- Allen Iverson

SONICS
F -- Jeff Green
F -- Nick Collison
C -- Johan Petro
G -- Kevin Durant
G -- Earl Watson

Officials: Bill Spooner, Violet Palmer and Mark Ayotte.

PRE-GAME NOTES --- FSN play-by-play announcer Kevin Calabro is not here tonight and Brian Davis is filling in.

The lineups are the same for the Sonics.

No Nene for Denver. He has right groin strain that occured in Saturday's loss against Sacramento.

Coach P.J. Carlesimo said Denver has given his team fits all season, which is a bit of an understatement considering the Nuggets dropped 168 points on Seattle in the their last meeting.

Damien Wilkins has returned after attending the birth of his first son on Friday in Atlanta.


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April 6, 2008 4:36 PM

Karl's Seattle surprise

Posted by Jayda Evans

Former Sonics coach George Karl is ditching his Denver allegiance today. The coach told Times columnist Steve Kelley that's he's going to wear the old handmade Space Needle tie he used to don while coaching the Sonics. Karl has kept his feelings about the OKC relocation pretty clean, but admits he doesn't like the deal. He revived his career in Seattle, leading the Sonics to the 1996 NBA Finals, and doesn't want that legacy packed up and moved on.

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April 5, 2008 2:33 PM

Shoe fiasco

Posted by Jayda Evans

Normally I wouldn't want to send you to a direct competitor, but this story from the P-I is a worthy read. Many have wondered how the season is taking its toll on the players and the giveaway after Friday's loss to Houston clearly showed it.

PG Earl Watson had no intentions of participating. I asked him about how you make the turnaround from another rough loss to, "Hey guys, it's time to put on a happy face for the fans and give away your autographed shoes!," and he said he wasn't giving away his shoes. He added that he planned on winning when it was his go-round. "Ask me when my time comes," he said before Sonics officials apparently forced him to participate in the event after he had showered and dressed, trying to slip through the visitor's locker room exit as F Jeff Green had done moments earlier.

Watson said the event was broken up for the final three games -- now two -- and it should happen again after the Denver game on Sunday. I don't think the outcome will be any different, however. The Nuggets have to win to keep their lead on Golden State for the eighth and final playoff seed, so the Supes will be grumpy again.

But the player's attitudes could be different. They had another off day today, most likely to watch the NCAA tournament games and rest nagging injuries from a fruitless season. Yet, if Watson's UCLA and Nick Collison's Kansas don't advance, watch out.

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April 4, 2008 7:13 PM

Rockets game thread

Posted by Jayda Evans

STILL STANDING: Some of the reported 14,170 fans (much less showed) are still standing around after the disappointing 79-66 loss. They're waiting for shoes, which certain players are giving away. (FYI, they'll be doing it again for the Denver and Dallas games but KD gave his away tonight). The Sonics were beyond bad tonight. They scored just 25 points in the second half and KD had his worst shooting night of the season, finishing 2-for-17 from the field for a season-low four points.

COAST-TO-COAST: Donyell Marshall returned to the lineup and just had a fastbreak dunk at the 7:25 mark that perked the crowd up. Sonics are still down 76-60.

DOWNER: Will Kuester couldn't get it done either. He missed his opportunity to even shoot for the $1 million bucket, only making a layin and free throw for a total of $150.

SPECIAL REQUEST: A fan just yelled the quote of the night, "McGrady sit down, you're killing us!" T-Mac has 18 points in the third quarter alone as Houston as built its largest lead of the game at 69-54 lead. The only anticipation left for the night is seeing if a fan can win $1 million on a round-house shooting circuit within 25 seconds.

ROUGH NIGHT: KD has spilled on the court too many times to count tonight. Some are stumbles, but he's also not getting any calls. He's also not shooting well, going 2-for-14 from the field. Petro (13 points) and Collison (11 points) are filling in while Adrian Griffin has seven off the bench. But with the Sonics' poor shooting (31.3 percent) and lack of "D," it's another long night.

ROCKETS FIRING: Houston used a 14-6 run to open the third quarter and build a 54-47 lead. T-Mac and Battier are killing the Sonics. McGrady has eight points in the spurt while Battier has three and two rebounds.

GELLY LEAVING: GM Sam Presti announced today that guard Mickael Gelabale will leave the team next week for France to have surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). He will remain in France for his rehabilitation period.

NICE PASS: Watson set-up a sweet bounce pass to Collison for a 20-foot jumper that gave the Sonics a 41-40 lead with 3.7 seconds remaining before halftime. The Rockets misfired at the other end, preserving the Supes' lead.

YOU, ME, and DUPREE: Sonics 10-day signee Ronald Dupree is making his debut. He entered with seconds remaining in the opening half and the Sonics down 40-39 after Dupree made two free throws.

CLOSING IN: As the Rockets move their subs into the game, the Sonics have made a push to close their deficit. They're still only shooting 29.7 percent from the field, but are getting inside and making a few stops by grabbing defensive rebounds. The score is 31-29 Seattle after a Luke Ridnour three-pointer and Collison block with 5:29 remaining.

ICE COLD: KD was 1-for-10 from the field to start the game. If you can believe it, Petro is carrying the team with his 3-for-6 shooting from the field. The Sonics trail 22-17 heading into the second quarter.

BIG SHOW: Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren was just introduced during a first quarter timeout. He received the loudest applause this place has heard since Ray Allen returned with his new Boston Celtics team.

HELLO ROOK: Mt. Mutombo just came crashing down on rookie Jeff Green. It looked as ugly as it probably felt for Green. The Sonics are down 15-8 after a Jackson three-pointer.

KILLER LANDRY: Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo was pretty candid prior to game time, admitting that Houston forward Carl Landry will "kill us tonight." Landry was 7-for-8 from the field for 22 total points in two previous wins against the Sonics this season and could have more advantages due to Sonics injuries. But it's T-Mac that the Supes really fear. He's been carrying the team in the absence of Yao Ming, who's out with a knee injury. Ming is in China and held a press conference today to talk about seeking alternative routes to heal his injury before the Beijing Olympics.

CONSIDERING ADELMAN: Coaches don't get a vote, but Carlesimo said Houston coach Rick Adelman should be considered for Coach of the Year honors. The list starts with Doc Rivers (Boston) and Byron Scott (New Orleans), however. Carlesimo complimented Adelman's ability to bring different styles to his teams, coaching a primarily shooting team in Sacramento, a glitzy athletic team in Portland, and a defensive-minded Rockets squad. But Carlesimo also gave a lot of credit to Shane Battier for bringing defense to the team.

WILKINS OUT: F Damien Wilkins is still not with the team due to personal reasons.

Here are tonight's starters

Sonics
F Jeff Green
F Nick Collison
C Johan Petro
G Kevin Durant
G Earl Watson

Rockets
F Shane Battier
F Luis Scola
C Dikembe Mutombo
G Tracy McGrady
G Bobby Jackson

Tonight's officials are Greg Willard, Tony Brothers, and Ed Malloy.

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April 3, 2008 3:56 PM

Sene to D-League

Posted by Jayda Evans

Mo Sene was demoted to the Idaho Stampede, finishing out the final five games and playoffs with the Sonics' D-League affiliate. Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo said the decision was made because of the sporadic time Sene received with the team. According to Carlesimo, Sene is better served playing consistently in Idaho. He'll also be a starter there.

In other news, the Sonics signed F Ronald Dupree to a 10-day contract. Dupree last played for the Tulsa 66ers, averaging 17.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. He also played one game this season in Detroit. He's familiar with the coaching and management staff, befriending assistant GM Scott Perry in Detroit in other stints with the Pistons and talking with Perry throughout this season about the possibility of joining the Sonics.

Seattle did not offer G Eddie Gill a second 10-day contract in order to make room on the roster.

Dupree, a former LSU standout, will get some playing time, too. F Damien Wilkins is still away from the team for personal reasons and Carlesimo is uncertain when he'll return. Since F Donyell Marshall is questionable with a knee injury, Dupree and rookie Jeff Green could play some power forward against Houston on Friday.

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April 2, 2008 10:40 PM

Final thoughts

Posted by Percy Allen

Here's tonight's Associated Press game story.

Suffice to say, this ill-fated season can't end fast enough, which is a shame in a sense because Kevin Durant is simply spectacular. In the past four games, he's scored 32, 18, 25 and 30 points.

As good as he was, it was clear that he wasn't the best player on the court. That distinction belonged to Elton Brand, who played his first game this season and was fantastic in the fourth quarter when he scored 13 of his 19 points.

Still that doesn't take away anything from Durant's performance. Paired against first-year forward Al Thornton, Durant made it clear that there shouldn't be any debate who should win the Rookie of the Year award. Thorton did some good things and finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, but Durant carried the Sonics and no other rookie is being asked to carry so much dead weight.

The bench gave Seattle just eight points, which was probably expected since Damien Wilkins is away on a personal matter. I'm not sure why, but coach P.J. Carlesimo raved about Adrian Griffin who finished with just three points on 1-for-4 shooting, six rebounds and three assists.

Sometimes I think Carlesimo and I watch two different games and this was one of those times. Griffin didn't embarrass himself, but I didn't see "a great performance" either.

Regardless, he's not the reason why the Sonics lost. They lost because Los Angeles scored 33 points in the fourth quarter and Seattle had just 14.

Knowing the answer, I asked Carlesimo if he wanted Jeff Green to shoot a career-high 25 times. The coach said 25 shots is probably too many for anybody - even Durant - but commended Green for being aggressive. Carlesimo also took part of the blame. He put Green on the floor for 40 minutes and he was prepared to live with the results.

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April 2, 2008 6:40 PM

Los Angeles Clippers game thread

Posted by Percy Allen

IT'S OVER --- Sonics lose 102-84.

MISMATCH --- The Supes aren't punishing the Clips when they match tiny Smush Parker on Durant and I don't know why. LA picked up a defensive three-second penalty, but for the most part the Sonics have yet to take advantage of that matchup.

BRAND HEATING UP --- He starting to pound the Sonics in the middle. He's got seven points and two rebounds so far in the quarter. LA has an 84-73 lead. The Clippers are running everything through the All-Star while the Sonics are shooting jumpers on the other end.

THIRD QUARTER --- Finally the defense arrived. Los Angeles scored 21 points in the third, which matched their total in the second, however, the Sonics held them to just 33.3 percent shooting. If Seattle has four players playing effectively, then the Clippers only have two (Maggette and Thornton) who each have 18 poitns. Powell is OK too. He has 8 points and 11 rebounds.

HALFTIME --- Good quarter for the Sonics who take a 50-48 lead into halftime. Seattle is basically working with four players (Durant, Green, Watson and Collison). Oh and Ridnour is balling. He has five assists. Petro has seven rebounds, but he's done little else.

GQ or SOMETHING ELSE--- Mobley is considered by many to be one of the best dressed players in the NBA. Heck, he's probably one of the best dressed athletes period. Tonight he's wearing a natty suit, but he's left the four buttons of his dress shirt unbuttoned. I dare say it's a little reminiscent of the '70s.But what do I know. Several ladies sitting courtside would argue otherwise.

FIRST QUARTER --- The Sonics have improved their shooting (it's up to 35 percent), but they have yet to slow down the Clippers who lead 27-22. It's the same old story. The defense looks like swiss cheese. LA is shooting 60 percent.

WILLIAMS ENTERS --- He stepped in with a minute remaining in the first period.

BRAND NEW --- Elton Brand made has made his season debut. He suffered a left Achilles tendon injury before the season. Brand looks pretty good for someone who hasn't played an NBA game in about a year. He's 1 for 4 from the fiedl and has two rebounds in four minutes.

SLOW START --- The Sonics have completed 1 of 8 field goals (12.5 percent) while the Clippers are 5 for 7 (71.4 percent) and leading 11-3. Carlesimo called the first timeout in an attempt to stop the bleeding.

MARSHALL SIDELINED? --- Donyell Marshall had X-rays for a knee injury and may not play tonight. Coach P.J. Carlesimo said the exam did not reveal any serious damage.

EMPTY HOUSE --- It's about 10 minutes before tipoff and I'm guesisng there's maybe 1,000 people here. There's so many factors working against the Sonics these days. For starters, the Mariners are playing across town and the Clippers have a 22-52 record.

WILLIAMS HOMECOMING --- Clippers G Marcus Williams will make his pro debut in front of his hometown fans. He purchased 27 tickets for tonight's game. Williams has had an adventerous rookie season. He was drafted in the second round by the San Antonio Spurs, spent much of the season in the D-League in Austin, TX and was signed by Los Angeles on March 28. He's played in just three games this season.

STARTING LINEUPS

LA CLIPPERS
F -- Al Thornton
F -- Corey Maggette
C -- Josh Powell
G -- Quentin Ross
G -- Brevin Knight

SONICS
F -- Nick Collison
F -- Jeff Green
C -- Johan Petro
G -- Kevin Durant
G -- Earl Watson

Officials: Ken Mauer, Olandis Poole and Michael Smith.

PRE-GAME NOTES --- Kevin Durant shared a few minutes on the sidelines during warmups with Clippers F Al Thornton. They'

The Clippers are shorthanded tonight. C Chris Kaman (sprained right ankle) and Cuttino Mobley (sore left heel) will not play because of injuries.

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April 1, 2008 12:35 PM

Emerald City Dreaming

Posted by Jayda Evans

It's not an April Fool's joke, but it's one of the biggest pipedreams since turning the viaduct into a six-lane highway. Sonics legend Fred Brown and Dave Bean unveiled plans for a new basketball/hockey arena today and it is wicked. Check out the Web site here. The design was inspired by the Sydney Opera House, but I'm also seeing a hint of the Star Trek Enterprise.

The cost? Oh, about $1-1.2 billion. Don't worry though, it's 100 percent privately financed. Do worry because not even Brown and Bean know by whom at this point. That's where the pipe dreaming comes in.

Sonics owner Clay Bennett unveiled a beautiful design, too. Remember the pictures of the $500 million Renton facility? While Bennett didn't own the land or have the money either, he did have the avenue and some support, including that of NBA commissioner David Stern. Brown and Bean have neither, but legend Bill Russell did roll through the press conference. And Bean and Brown have had discussions with city, county, and state officials in addition to Bennett. Still, thee duo was mute when the topic of money popped up at the press conference.

"[It's] A very viable approach to making an arena work in this market," said Bean in reference to the facility.

According to Percy, who attended, the catch phrases were "Big" and "Vision." And the facility is both. There's a retractable roof, a would-be first in the NBA, and space for housing, a cultural center and hall of fame. But I wouldn't get too excited. This is more of the closed door talking that I've heard rumbling around, but without a financial plan, NBA fans are stuck with the reality that the Sonics are moving to Oklahoma City as soon as Bennett can get the bags packed.

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April 1, 2008 12:14 PM

Durant hits four

Posted by Jayda Evans

KD won his fourth Rookie of the Month honor for the month of March. Here's the release:

SEATTLE, Tuesday, April 1, 2008 -- Sonics guard Kevin Durant today was named the Western Conference T-Mobile Rookie of the Month for games played for the month of March. It is the fourth T-Mobile Rookie of the Month award for Durant this season.

Among rookie qualifiers in March, Durant ranked first in scoring with 21.8 points per game. He also ranked second in the league in free throw percentage with .903 and sixth in field goal percentage with .526. For the season Durant ranks first among rookies in scoring with 19.9 points per game, second in steals, third in three-point percentage and fourth in blocks.

Here is a recap of the month for Durant:

March 3 @ Minnesota: Scored 25 points and added four rebounds in a 111-108 win over the Timberwolves.

March 11 @ Indiana: Recorded 27 points and two rebounds in the 114-107 loss to the Pacers.

March 24 vs. Portland: Registered 23 points and a career-high nine rebounds in a 97-84 victory over the Trail Blazers.

March 26 vs. Washington: Scored 32 points and added seven rebounds in a 104-99 loss to the Wizards.

March 30 vs. Sacramento: Tallied 25 points, two rebounds, and two assists in a 120-107 loss to the Kings.

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